I loved BB. I didn’t know then but I realize now that that’s what it was. Or what do you call it when having her around made me feel at peace and warm? When I went extra mile to do things for her, things I know I could get beaten for? When I sat beside her in a corner and talked and talked about anything and everything? You only do these when you feel deeply.

The day she was kidnapped, I almost ran mad. I searched and called for her all around the neighborhood, my ten years old mind almost snapping with the pain I felt. The day after when I picked the broom to sweep our compound, I was reminded of how she would have bounded up to me, grinning widely and getting in between my legs while I bent down to sweep. I broke down and wept hard.

I felt as if rock-ball has been dropped into my chest. It hurt so bad.

But as days passed and I and my brother moved on, thoughts of her became less painful. And when we talk about her, the bent of our smiles were bitter sweet. We would talk about her baths, her mischievous little tricks and her deep, expressive eyes.

Then one night, we heard weak scratches on our front door. My brother summoned courage and opened the door and something bony and filthy jumped at him. He took a step back in reflex and let out a yelp. I screamed too and almost wet myself.

Before we could recover, we heard a weak whine, like the sound you make when your heart is breaking. This jolted us and we checked the figure again. It was BB!

Overwhelmed, I bursted into tears. My brother tried to be less dramatic but he couldn’t hold back his tears too. Especially when we wanted to hug her and she stepped back as if scared we were about to hit her. Then we realized to our horror that she had been abused. She was emaciated and has huge sores all over. Her ear had been marked. But worst of all, her spirit had been broken.

We knew this because when we raised her head so she could see us, she wouldn’t look us in the eye.

For months after, we went through a painful recovery process with BB but she wasn’t the same. She wouldn’t come in and sneak up to sleep on the rug like she used to. She wouldn’t lick my hands or grin like she used to when I talk to her. She had been killed inside, our BB.

But because she had been there for us unreservedly, we tried as much as we can to be there for her too. Even when she started to forget things and when she lost her sight in one eye (results of her abuse) we tried. Because of BB, we knew what true friendship is.

She let us know that we are her home and she was ours too. She let us know too, that friendship isn’t for humans alone. That friendship is home, it is comfort, security, the place that pulsates with trust. Friendship is not about the words said, because in our eyes and actions lies the bond.

Because of BB, my childhood dog, I knew that you can smile through tears and you can light up someone’s life by simply just being there.

To all who have stood by you always, not with words alone, but with actions… to them, Happy Friendship Day.