“Gosh lady so you really weren’t joking when you said you hadn’t eaten all day,” he said as he watched me crunch another huge bone in my mouth. It was early evening and we were sitting with my companion at his back yard where I was happily tucking into the food that he had just brought me.

“I love this fatty meat and like they say the closer the bone……”, I said, between mouthfuls.

“I never get to eat anything this gorgeous at home….not allowed, you see. My people say uncooked meat is unhealthy.”

My companion looked at me and shook his head. “All these people are the same. They think that they are smart and know what is best but really they are the dumbest creatures.” He stretched his long legs and lay on the grass beside me.

“So are you going to tell me why you ran away from home”? He asked. He was kind and patient and I knew that he would wait until I was ready.

“Saddam, dear, what can I say. I just need to get away from here. City life is not for me anymore. Why don’t we run away together to the country.” I was looking into his large, beautiful, brown eyes as I said this and I knew that he would not want to leave. His life was here and he had everything going for him. He couldn’t leave Nairobi. It meant the world to him.

I had learned that Saddam’s early years had been difficult. He was one of six little ones born to a single mother living near Eastleigh between Mlango Kubwa and Kailisha. Mother would often leave her little ones for a few hours in the afternoon whilst she went out to look for their dinner. One day mother did not come back. Saddam was to be told later that his mother had been was struck and killed by a fast moving lorry on the busy Kinyozi Road.

Saddam was forced to learn the tough game of daily survival from a tender age. All his friends on the street lived by cunning and guile. Life was full of hazards and few made it to their first birthday.

Saddam was on food patrol one sunny day when the butcher’s son saw him. The boy fell in love with him and took him back home. The days and weeks that followed saw a transformation in Saddam’s life. Here was now healthy and well looked and sheltered from the elements.

To the other survivors in the hood Saddam was much loved. He was generous with his daily allowance of bones and meat and he quickly become a pillar of the local canine community. I was just honoured that he had chosen to be my friend. One day I asked him about the name Saddam. He said the Butcher’s son named him after a famous politician from an oil-rich country. I admitted I wasn’t too much into human geography or politics so it meant nothing to me. My own people had named me Beyonce because they thought that I was smart and very attractive.