With lush black fur and a white tipped tail, Blackie walked into our lives one Sunday morning. She only had to wag her tail and stick out her long, long tongue to win my heart. My mother was quite annoyed at us for feeding a stray dog but my sister and I never failed to sneak her a slice of bread or some biscuits on a daily basis. Soon, Blackie moved her camp right outside our house.
She may have been a stray dog, but boy did she have attitude. She refused to have dry bread. Dry bread was for mongrels. She was a queen.The only bread she ever accepted had been buttered lavishly or had been heated with cheese.
You may say that no matter how hot blooded a dog is, over the years it becomes mellow and tame, according to its masters wishes. But not our Blackie. She had no master. She would come and go as she pleased. She would bark all night and not let anyone sleep in the neighbourhood. She would pick fights with other dogs who were twice her size and win. If my mother sent me to fetch some milk from the nearby store, Blackie would accompany me all the way to the store and back like a personal bodyguard. If she was angry at us for some reason, she would rip through our garbage bags and scatter its contents all over the place.
Besides howling all night, the one thing Blackie truly loved was to run. On several occasions she’d tried to outrun the family car. Whenever I went cycling, she’d automatically chase me and win and after she had reached the self designated finish line she’d run back to me and bark at my cycle just to show it who was the boss.
She readily barked at any poor stranger on the road and bit many suspicious characters. In fact, almost every month, a passerby would knock on our door and demand money for the tetanus shot they had to get because Blackie had bit them. We’d explain she wasn’t our dog but sometimes they got angry. Blackie would come to our rescue then, barking at them as if warning them that they’ll be bitten again if they didn’t leave. Which they did. Instantly. She terrorised the entire community but she never as much as scratched any member of the family even if we accidentally stepped on her tail or pushed her around.
As years passed by, she grew older. Her rich black fur lost its shine and the hair around her eyes started to become grey. She became weak but that still didn’t stop her from building up a racket at night. She yapped at humans and dogs and the occasional cow alike. Needless to say that over the course of almost 6 years, we had grown extremely fond of Blackie. And it was clear that she loved us too. Sometimes she went out for long walks and we wouldn’t see her all morning but she always returned for an evening snack.
Then one evening, she didn’t show up. She’d just given birth to a batch of cute little puppies so we assumed that she was busy with her maternal duties. We thought she’d return by the next day. But she didn’t. In fact, Blackie never came back to us. We never saw her again. The local sweeper informed my mother that he’d seen the body of a small black dog a few days before lying on the street, dead. It was Blackie. She was the only dog that fit the description. Our house helper came by and told us the story of how spectators had seen Blackie fight another dog to defend her newborn puppies but she couldn’t survive as her opponent was much bigger than her.
Typical Blackie. Of course she’d attack a bigger dog, of course she’d do that for her loved ones. Brave, loving, loyal Blackie never quit. She fought until the very end. It’s been nearly 2 years since I last saw her. I still see some of her children and even grandchildren roaming about the neighbourhood. They’re all small like her but that is where all similarities end. No other dog can ever hope to replace our Blackie, who shall always be remembered as the fierce little dog, the terror of the streets, with rich black fur and a white tipped tail.