SINGAPORE - There was no way you would suspect that my daughter was hiding a dog in her bedroom.
No barking, not a single sound, to give the illegal immigrant away.
Cheryl, 26, had secretly brought home a chihuahua. She had wanted to have a dog for a long time but I was afraid of dogs and had expressly told her there was no way I could tolerate one in the house.
She had gone to a pet shop with a friend who had wanted to buy a dog. But my daughter ended up falling for the chihuahua and bought it.
It was days, or perhaps a week - I'm not sure really - before I found out about Chloe's existence. I had become suspicious when Cheryl started closing her bedroom door when she went out. She had always left the door open.
Cheryl loves dogs but knew that I was terrified of them. My fears stemmed from an incident in my childhood when I was chased by a dog in a park. Since then, I have been afraid of canines.
I would not get into a lift if there was a dog inside. If I saw a dog coming towards me, I would take great pains to avoid it.
A kind neighbour used to push his dog inside his flat whenever he spotted me coming down the corridor. He saw how frightened I was when his dog dashed out one day and came running after me. That was a few months ago.
Back to the fugitive in my house. At first, I did not tell my daughter that I knew about her secret pet. I was not sure how to handle the situation. I was upset with her for disobeying me - I had previously threatened to get rid of any dog in the house ("throw down the rubbish chute" was my favourite threat) - but should I force her to get rid of the dog and strain our relationship?
While I pondered over what to do, I could not resist taking a peek at Chloe whenever my daughter was not at home. My daily clandestine visits must have forged some sort of bond with Chloe, and before I knew it, I was reaching out tentatively to stroke it and it would reciprocate, licking my hand so lovingly. It had wormed its way into my heart.