I have always liked animals, but I finally knew how to love them when I met this doofus. Priyanka Praveen might not laugh at your jokes (she might say they are lame but honest to God, you could see her struggling not to laugh) and she might sometimes go out of her way to protect you from strangers that you were always taught to never strike a conversation with. And she will always be the person who would carry 2,800 boxes of food to share with everyone in her office… BUT most of all, she will teach you how to love an animal with your entire being, even if their loss shatters your heart.
Q1. Animals over humans. Why?
I think it’s because I realize how much damage humans are capable of inflicting on animals. Also, I’ve found most animals to be much more patient and less temperamental, something I’ve come to value a lot.
Q2. Your earliest memory of falling in love with an animal?
This is so difficult to answer! I’ve always loved animals, especially the little pigs near my house. But I think I realized it was love when Jacqueline (II) came home. She was a Doberman, but she was a little puppy when Pappy brought her. The exact moment I knew I lost my heart to her was on her first day at home. After her bath, she decided to cuddle in MY lap; she ignored everyone else at home and came to me. I felt honored and ridiculously important for a 13-year-old. I just couldn’t look back after that. The only other time I felt that kind of overwhelming love was when two, two-week-old kittens were abandoned by their mum. I looked after them for sometime before getting them adopted. That was the second most difficult thing I did last year.
Q3. Despite the loss or distance, which furry half-human still has your heart?
It has to be Jacqueline, I have not been able to find the courage to bring home another pet after her death.
Q4. What are the top three things animals have taught you so far?
I know most of these are cliched, but they are…
a) To love without conditions.
b) To stand by your family, and to express your joy when you see them, even if it means something as small as licking them (hahaha) when they come home.
c) To understand your fears and make peace with them, even if that fear is a big bully cat (as was the case with Jacqueline).
Q5. When it’s their time to go, how do you say goodbye and still live to tell the tale?
I find it very difficult to answer this question. It’s one of the hardest things I had to do. I knew the exact moment I was losing Jacqueline and there was nothing I could do, but watch as she slipped away. But she was surrounded by three people who loved her more than anything in the world and she knew that… there is no painless way to say goodbye, but the fact that she wasn’t going to be in pain anymore was a relief.
Life after Jacky (Jacqueline) has been quite different, there is this constant hollow that refuses to leave. Even today, three years after her passing, we sometimes forget that she’s not at home. For instance, even today if I stamp something soft, I sometimes say, “Sorry Jacky!”, and then correct myself. I know most people think that she was just a dog and one shouldn’t be this affected by the loss of a pet, but I don’t hold it against them. Imagine a love so great that even years after her passing, you can’t forget how it felt when you first saw her. Unless someone experiences that, they wouldn’t understand why Jacqueline is so important to me.
Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.