Favourite of all celebrities and actors, lens-legend Dabboo Ratnani is best known for his outstanding photography which sparkles with creativity, talent and excellence. Famous portrait ‘n’ celebrity photographer, his annual calendar is a collector’s item and is eagerly awaited. Camera his first love and he tell us about his forever fascination with Flash. Let’s flash on his love for Flash.
In his younger years Dabboo Ratnani always wanted a pup, but was unable to keep one. He was surrounded by friends who shared their lives with many pets. A bucket list for him was to be a pet parent, and the day he bought his first studio he decided to make his dream come true with Flash, a Boxer, who added life to his studio and transformed him into a true pet parent.
Fascination for Flash
“I named him ‘Flash’ because I always thought of giving my dog a name closely connected to photography. My friends like the actor Arjun Rampal and other pet parents of Boxers influenced me in making my choice. I love Boxers for their facial expressions, amazing character and superb behaviour. They are very lovable and they love kids,” says Dabboo. He has soft corner for other breeds like Great Dane and Golden Retriever too, but he feels that medium size breeds like Boxers are easier for him to maintain.
Flash @ studio
Every morning Flash would accompany Dabboo to the studio. “Flash was very acquainted with the studio and literally grew up on sets. He was very careful with the equipment, and never tripped on wires. A great choice—I must say! A true attention seeker, he would go and pose with the models and actors to get his part of attention. I have clicked many cute pictures of him with actors and models. Very welcoming and friendly, he would run to the door each time the bell rang, thinking they are all coming to play with him,” Dabboo recalls.
The heart of the family
Flash was an amazing family dog. “My mom and dad never had a pet before. So, the day I walked into the house with the two-month-old Flash, mom was really frightened. They became friends within a few days and my mom’s fear for dogs immediately vanished. He was incredible, a great stress buster and got great energy and pawsitivity around the house,” narrates Dabboo. He continues, “In the first three months of Flash’s arrival I avoided my social life, never went out at nights with friends because I didn’t want to leave him alone at night. Literally it was like taking care of a baby for me. My elder daughter Myrah had a close bond with him and has a fond memory of him.”
Flash to cherish & Flash Junior
Flash was born on 10th January 2001, came to Dabboo’s home on 8th March the same year and passed away on 1st February 2014. “He was 13 years old and he died due to old age, it was sad for me to let him go,” says Dabboo. “It took us a few years to get another pup and the legacy continues with the same name, keeping the memory, bond and connect alive. Taking care of a dog is a complete commitment and I wanted my kids to be at an age where they contribute to his growing up,” he adds. “Flash Junior is a Cavapoo, a mixed breed of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Poodle. My kids—Shivaan (7), Kiara (9) and Myrah (11)—love him very much. They take responsibility to brush, bathe, feed and buy him toys from pet stores from their own pocket money,” says Dabboo. Flash’s first day at Dabboo’s home was full of excitement for the kids and a sleepless night for him. The kids fell in love with him the moment they saw him. Flash too was very friendly and super excited; it was an amazing feeling to have a new member in the family. The kids played with him till very late in the night and followed Flash wherever he went around the house sniffing everything he could.
“They treat him like their own sibling,” feels Dabboo. He adds, “Shivaan and Flash have boundless energy. They play fantastically together. They have a running race every day. It literally starts with us saying ‘On your marks, get set go!’ and they both run from one end of the room to another.” Kiara handles Flash very delicately, so he is extremely calm around her. “Even if he gets hyper after playing a lot, he comes next to Kiara and calms down instantly. He loves the way Kiara sings for him & pets him,” shares Dabboo. Myrah takes care of Flash like a true big sister. She keeps a track of his bath, brushing his hair and his food timings. She loves to groom and pamper him. “All three kids get loads of licks (dog kisses) from Flash & they love it! Flash sleeps with them on their bed. He wakes them in the morning and they all play together all day long,” says Dabboo.
Flash’s favourite fascination
“Manisha! My wife is Flash’s favourite. Manisha has never had a pup before and was scared of dogs. We could never imagine her being so close to a pup. In the same manner in which Flash senior chose my mom, younger Flash has chosen Manisha and got the fear out of her,” mentions Dabboo. Flash too comes to his studio and they spend a lot of time together. His bed is in their room. Dabboo remembers Flash’s first night at home, “I had to keep my hand on him to comfort him and that connect has remained. He shows his boisterous self to others but with me he is a little careful. He is teething, so he is continuously chewing things around.”
Everybody loves everything about him
Flash is now just 11 months old. He has great energy, very playful, amazing with the kids, he always wants to be around the kids, the family bond instilled in him is amazing and the way he follows Manisha is very cute. “Movie times are cuddle times with him. He likes to spend time with each one of us individually, and he can figure out how to get attention from each one of us—very lovable indeed. He knows if he goes for Kiara’s hair, soft toys or my shoes, it will get him the much needed attention!” tells Dabboo.
Car drives around
“Flash has never been on a vacation. We recently planned a trip to Manisha’s parents’ home in Jaipur, but with the COVID-19 crisis we cancelled the plan,” tells Dabboo. “Flash often enjoys car drives around Mumbai and gets super excited whenever he visits my brother’s house where lives a Cocker Spaniel called Bela. He has done play dates, and also is friendly with a Beagle in our building,” he adds.
Nutrition the key
Dabboo takes care of Flash’s daily nutritional intake and exercise. “Sometimes he is a little fussy and refuses to eat dog food, that’s why we mix his food with boiled chicken to make it interesting. We give him healthy options and ensure he eats enough. We don’t over feed him as over fed dogs have health issues. He runs around the building and kids keep him active and exercised all the time. He loves chicken, milk chewy,” he says. He conclusively mentions that one should feed only dog biscuits to pets because human biscuits have different ingredients which don’t work for them. “Love them unconditionally as they do,” he says.
• Favourite activity together: Run together with him on terrace and the podium.
• Qualities you love: Flash is very playful and energetic.
• Funny/Crazy antics: The way he follows my wife wherever she goes is very funny and cute.
• Annoying habits: When he comes below my dining table and asks for food after he has eaten his whole share.
Always ensure proper exercise, this is what I noticed with my Boxer (Flash), who was high on energy and needed his runs. In a city it can be quite challenging. –Dabboo