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Anushka Ranjan has a weakness for pooches and she’s smitten with her cuddly fuzzball Mija. Can you blame her?

If you think celebrities only buy purebreds, think again: Actor Anushka Ranjan is one such celebrity who shunned “buying” a pup so she could rescue and adopt! She is head-overheels for Mija, who was instantly a hit with the whole family, and makes a compelling case for rescuing rather than buying a pet: “Finding Mija was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. If you are looking for a pet, first make sure you’ve thought it through and that you have the means to care for them properly, Then please please please consider adopting. There are so many NGOs helping out with adopting animals just waiting for a better life.” Don’t believe us? Go watch her gush about her fuzzball on youtube! Anushka also often takes to social media to post pictures of her and Mija together. She adds, “The love a person feels once they welcome a pet in their home cannot be expressed in words and Mija has changed me so much. I always urge people to be kind to animals and if you can adopt that is the best thing you can do for these voiceless angels. I adopted her and it was one of my best decisions ever! If you can help by sponsoring NGOs who help in animal welfare that is also more than enough.” She says, “I don’t think people know enough that you don’t have to buy your pet animals, you can adopt them. They are the ones who are homeless, desperate in need of a home. When you buy an animal, they are not even acclimated to the city. You buy dogs that are meant for colder climates etc.” She goes on to say, “A painful life is not the best thing. Save a life, adopt a puppy at home and you will be the happiest person in the world like I am.” Her happiness can be gauged from the fact that even during the pandemic, she tries to make sure Mija has a good time, like celebrating her birthday. Anushka made sure her pet had a fun-filled birthday, recently. She called in for a few special pet gourmet foods for her to mark the day. Talking about this, the ‘Wedding Pullav’ actress says, “My idea was to just have a small celebration at home owing to the pandemic. I called for a cake and other doggie treats, which she loved. Mija also seemed to know what was going on. She woke up with so much happiness and was frolicking around the house as if she knew it’s her birthday.” Anushka, who married her long-time beau Aditya Seal on November 22, after four years of being in a relationship, says he adores Mija. “He keeps troubling her but she loves it. They have a very childlike relationship,” she says.

Tell us about Mija and where did you find her?

She’s adopted through a friend of ours who helps rescue strays and rehabilitate them.

What’s her age and who named her?

She’s almost two-and-a-half years old. When we got her, I did a Q&A on Instagram and asked for suggestions and someone suggested Mija, which means my daughter in Spanish. I’ve always been a fan of Spanish and have tried to learn the language briefly so it instantly connected with me.

Have you always had a pup at home?

Were you raised in a family of animal lovers? I’ve only had one pet baby before Mija, Busta. He was a cocker spaniel. I haven’t been raised around dogs as my mother was very scared but after we got Busta and now Mija, my mother’s become the biggest animal lover. She keeps kissing Mija and hand feeding her.

What are your earliest memories of having a dog around?

I had a lot of strays in my father’s home and I don’t remember this but I used to love playing with them so I’m guessing I’ve always had a liking for dogs. Looking at any puppy makes my heart melt.

What is it that makes Mija special?

Does Aditya love her as much? Mija is extremely playful and loving. We assume she has been through trauma as she doesn’t like meeting new people immediately. But once she sniffs them she’s the most loving. She’s constantly wanting a belly rub. And she’s stunning to look at. And we feel like she tries to communicate with us sometimes. She’s very intuitive and just knows when one of us is down and out and comes and licks us and starts playing with us. Aditya adores her. He keeps troubling her but she loves it. They have a very childlike relationship.

You must’ve spent a lot of time with her at home because of the lockdowns. What have you learned most about life from having her?

Unconditional love!

It’s all getting normal now. But you’re married recently. How has life changed for you two, if it has?

 It hasn’t changed much as I’ve moved very close to my mother’s house. So, I have two homes now. I simply feel like my home ‘got expanded’. We all hang out together. My dog also goes back and forth. So Mija sleeps with me then after her morning walk goes back home to mom’s. Then in the afternoon she’s back with me. It couldn’t have been a more ideal and happier situation for me.

Do you groom/ bathe your furbaby?

What part do you play in his grooming? I do bathe her. But as she’s an indie, she’s very low maintenance. I’ve taken her for a haircut just twice since she’s been with us.

How far would you go, or where do you draw the line when it comes to pampering her?

I give her a ridiculous amount of attention and love. We all do. We over pamper her is what I feel.

Is she allowed on the couch and most importantly, the bed?

She sleeps on the bed only! If I get her own bed, she manages to rip it apart. Couch she doesn’t sit on.

Do you see yourself as an animal advocate? Have you ever spoken up for animals that needed to be adopted, or in support of animal rights?

Always! I’m very vocal for women and animal rights on social media. I try donating as much as I can towards the cause of animals. I had recently gone to rescue a mother and her pups who were abandoned by their owners.

What’s that one quality that makes a dog so endearing to you?

There’s not one. Just their faces make my heart melt.

Do you believe a dog is a human’s best friend?

Most definitely and the only friend we need.