10 years and 1 month have come and gone. Friends, boyfriends too. A million relationships had been a part of my present and then the past. But Jacqueline, remained constant through all of them.
And as much as I love to call her the world’s best pet, I know it would be unfair to the other wonderful animals. But, Jacqueline was, is and will forever remain, the best thing that happened to us.
It was a summer. A Hyderabad summer (ugh). My uncle called and informed me that my dad might be bringing us a small surprise. A furry surprise. Excited, I waited patiently throughout the 3-hour power cut, almost dying in the heat, I might add.
And there it was. That dreaded himesh-reshamiya song, that meant my dad was backing his car. Not one to wait I ran down.
What do I see? A rat-like-creature with big brown eyes and the most adorable set of bunny teeth. She was three months old. Scrawny little doberman puppy with just the most adorable specks of brown.
After a round of awwwwsss, pappy let me give her a bath. I could tell she hated it. As a punishment she decided to rub herself against me. Sigh. Little did I know life was going to be like that, happy and beautiful for a really really long and good decade.
Despite suggestions of a set of usual-petnames, Jade, Browny, Blacky etc. I came up with the not-so-brilliant idea of naming her Jacqueline (in memory of my earlier pet who was also named, sigh, Jacqueline).
Anyway. Everything seemed easy. Jacky was the missing puzzle piece in our life and she fit perfectly. From our school shoes getting eaten, to my uncle’s socks going missing. Jacky soon went from being the pain-in-the-ass puppy to an important member in the family. She was like that annoying younger sibling.
My parents would sit and watch in awe when she would lap up milk from her bowl and then go and wipe her face to the sofa. Always a classy lady in whatever she did. She would fart, raise her head, sniff around, give us the stink eye and go back to sleep. Leaving us to rot in fart-hell.
You know how, sometimes we take life and every other beautiful gift for granted? I did too.
Today, it’s a month and two days, since Jacqueline’s passing. The pain, they say, goes away with time. Sometimes I think it has. But then it suddenly comes back.
There are days I forget she’s not at home. Days when I imagine that she’s right behind me. Days when I wake up thinking she’s going to put her wet nose under my bedspread. But the empty spot in my room doesn’t promise any such thing.
The chair that she loved, the balcony where she would stare at cats. Everything seems empty. The house, our lives and our hearts.
All those who know me even a little, will know that Jacky was an extremely important part of my life. You’d know that the faint scar on the bridge of my nose was because of a stupid, stupid, incident involving Jacky. You’d know that Jacky was as loved as we are, and if you had to ask my mother to choose between Jacky and us, she would choose Jacky.
From standing on the sofa when the door bell rang, chasing lizards, going mental when it came to car rides, or putting her heavy head on your lap with her big-puppy eyes. Jacky was a rascal who manipulated and emotionally blackmailed us into giving her whatever she wanted.
I always knew. Right from day one, that I wasn’t Jacky’s Number 1. She loved and was faithful to my dad till her last breath.
But I knew that she depended on me for everything else. To take care of her wounds, protect her from cats, punch kids for her. She knew she was my Number 1.
So you can imagine the kind of heartache that comes with her passing.
I was silly enough to assume that she’d be part of our lives forever. Weddings, babies new homes and everything else. But with her sudden passing she’s taken away with her all those possible future memories.
Animals teach you a million lessons. They touch your soul and once you know them, you’ll never ever be the same. So, I can assure you, that whoever said dogs have no soul obviously never had one.
For all those who’ve lost their pets, you know what I’m talking about. The feeling of losing a family member, a sibling and the most lovable companion.
Time may perhaps heal wounds, but until then, this is the hell we’ll go through.
In memory of my little puppy, my Number 1, Jacqueline.