My Jakarta: Kristal Prima Prameswari, Dog Lover
Kristal Prima Prameswari, a 20-year-old psychology student, discovered her inner dog lover thanks to Plaffy and Puma, two mixed-breed dogs she has owned. Now she is convinced that all dogs, regardless of breed, are deserving of respect, just like all humans.
She fervently believes that dogs are always better than cats; that our canine friends have a preternatural sensitivity to human emotions. And for those people who turn up their noses at mixed breeds, insisting on pedigreed pooches? Kristal says they aren’t deserving of the title of dog lover.
Tell us about how you ended up with Plaffy and Puma?
I used to dislike dogs. I was a bit paranoid about how their hair might fly all over the place and give you lots of health problems, and I was also worried about all the maintenance needed to keep them clean and the potty training involved.
Then one day seven years ago, when I was in my first year of high school, a friend of mine showed me his Shih Tzuand and I began to enjoy playing with it, maybe because I could just go home whenever it got dirty. I often went to his house just to play with his dog [laughs]. Not long after he gave me a puppy, which I named Plaffy. He was a mutt. At the time I didn’t know that a mutt, or a mixed breed, was the type of dog people often call ‘anjing kampung’ [village dog]. This is how I first started to build an attachment to my dogs. And somehow along the way, another friend of mine gave me Puma.
What kinds of things do you talk about with your dogs?
Please don’t write that I’m a lunatic who likes to talk to animals [laughs]. What I mean is that, dogs act as if they understand your feelings without you even saying anything about it. Plaffy would often just sits quietly next to me whenever I felt like I needed some time alone. Their ability to sense their master’s emotional state is truly outstanding.
You’re a psychology student. What is it with dogs being man’s best friend?
People often say that the loyalty of a dog is second to none. I think that it’s because dogs find it so easy to develop a dependency on their masters. It’s not like they will die if there’s no one feeding them. But once they feel comfortable with someone and their loving physical and emotional attention, dogs just don’t want to get away from that. That’s why they will stick to their masters, no matter what.
Are dogs superior to cats?
I hate cats [laughs]. I just feel that no matter how loving the owners are to their cats, their feline friends are not as attached to their owners as dogs are. For example, cats won’t think twice about ransacking the kitchen for food if the owner forgets to feed them, while dogs will just wait until their owners come home and feed them. Dogs are just so much more obedient than cats.
What’s the largest amount of money you’ve spent on your dogs?
Well, since I’m not the kind of person who likes to buy my dogs insanely expensive accessories, I think it was a million rupiah for medication. It was for one of Puma’s pups.
Can you explain the Facebook page you created for your dogs?
At first it was just for fun, with no purpose whatsoever really, but somehow a friend of mine had the very same idea for her dog. So eventually what we did was that we spoke for each of our pets and acted as if they had started seeing each other [laughs]. People congratulated us and also gave us Facebook presents on the dogs’ birthdays.
Do you believe that dogs can see ghosts? And that when they howl at night it’s because they see one?
I have to say yes. It’s not like I’ve seen a ghost before, but about two months after Plaffy died last March, out of the blue Puma started to howl pretty much around the same time every evening. My mom says that’s when Plaffy comes to bark ‘hi.’ And it is still going on now.
What about people who prefer having a pedigree dog instead of a mongrel?
I think mostly it’s just for the prestige. I don’t mean that people who buy pedigree dogs don’t really love their pets. And I also understand that different people have different preferences when it comes to the perfect canine companion. But I think if you really know why you love dogs in the first place, the option of a mutt or an exclusive and insanely expensive Siberian husky won’t matter as much as the difference in price.
Why is being given a dog better than buying one from a pet shop, besides of course that it’s free?
I know that not everyone is going to be offered a pup by their acquaintances, so they have no choice but to resort to buying one from a pet shop. But I think that getting a dog as a gift is somewhat safer for the dogs.
When you buy a dog from a shop, the seller doesn’t really care much as long as you have the money. They simply assume that by paying the money you will take care of it because you enjoy your dog’s company. But people who give away pups are often much more selective about the recipients and they may even want to check up on the pup once in a while just to make sure.
Kristal Prima Prameswari was talking to Antonny Saputra.