Andre Timmins sees red when you ask him the worst thing his dogs have done. A month ago, Ninja, one of his white Golden Retrievers, ripped apart a pair of shoes, which he had worn just thrice. “I made him sit in a corner and he did not move an inch,” he says with helpless laughter.
By his own admission, Timmins has a love-hate relationship with the two golden retrievers. Ninja is six-months-old, while Hunter is 14 months. “Dogs are extremely sensitive. You have to bring them up like your own kids,” says the 54-year-old director of Wizcraft International. At a very early age, Timmins fell in love with dogs. “We used to have a Pomeranian at home then,” he recalls.
Work and career took over his life for many years and in 2008, Timmins and his wife brought home a Golden Retriever and they named it Ra. “It was docile and the kids and I grew very fond of it,” says Timmins. The moment of truth was in 2016, when the family was on a holiday. Ra passed away quietly and things were extremely sombre at home. “It is never easy to come to terms with it,” he says wistfully. Timmins says dogs depart when the master is not at home. “That’s how it played out with Ra since we were away in Mahabaleshwar. It was karmic in an odd way.”
His way to unwind after a hectic schedule is to play with Ninja and Hunter in the terrace of his home. “My wife takes them for a walk on Juhu beach three days a week. I spend time with them in the morning,” says Timmins. For him, being with them is not just joyous, but also replenishing.
As long as the family is travelling to destinations not too far away, the duo is always a part of the tour. Be it Pune or Goa, where they camp at a friend’s bungalow, the fun never stops. “In Goa, the ritual is a walk by the beach. Irrespective of where we are, the dogs and us sleep in the same room and they wake up with us,” adds Timmins.
Life without the dogs is inconceivable for him and he grins when asked if they are closer to him than the kids. “That’s tough to answer but there are times when they are closer,” he says quietly. Except when they get after a prized possession. Timmins still doesn't plan on buying a new pair of shoes yet. Not for a while for sure.