Translated from German, Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the moment", and is the key principle underpinning AYANA's service philosophy. Here, we share our inside tips and favorite haunts to help you experience the AYANA Zeitgeist.
An unexpected guest is the last thing you want on your wedding day. Let alone, a gorgeous female who makes your groom’s heart tremor with excitement.
But that’s the exact scenario that Minni You faced on her wedding day in Bali, June 22th 2012, when an ‘uninvited’ female made an entrance just as the couple prepared to exchange vows. Minni watched as her groom, Tuan Pham, stared as the female sauntered down the aisle. She saw her husband-to-be’s pupils dilate as his attention was drawn to The Other Woman. But Minni wasn’t worried, because she’s the one who arranged this surprise for her groom! Here, they tell us the real story:
1. Tell us about The Other Woman.
We are big dog-lovers and we wanted our Golden Retriever, Pepsi, to be with us on our wedding day. I was not very optimistic about our chances, but Tuan was more hopeful. He tried everything but in the end, with all the logistics, paperwork and quarantine requirements, we had to let go of the idea. We were upset as Pepsi is like family to us. But then I found out that AYANA has its own kennels with many gorgeous dogs, and I??thought it would be nice to have one of these dogs represent Pepsi instead.
2. How did you end up having Laura at your wedding instead?
We arrived a few days before our wedding day, and I was missing Pepsi and went to AYANA’s kennels to see all these gorgeous Golden Retrievers and Labradors. They were really happy and healthy and I was drawn to one who looked a lot like Pepsi…her name was Laura. When my wedding consultant told me that I could actually have her at the wedding, my heart was filled with joy to the rim!
3. How did your husband react to that idea?
I managed to keep it as a secret from him until D-day. I remember sneaking out of my room the night before to see Laura, to tell her that we will have a big day tomorrow and she will be part of it. You can imagine how surprised Tuan was to see Laura, big-dreamy-eyes, all fluffy just gracefully walking down the wedding aisle towards us, as though it was a normal everyday thing!
4. What did your guests say about this beautiful, furry, “unexpected” guest?
We had 30 guests on our wedding and they were all so surprised! Our families even thought it was Pepsi for a second. Too funny!
5. We heard about the treats you sent to AYANA for Laura after you got back home from your wedding; that’s very sweet.
It’s the least we can do for Laura. I wish we could adopt her. Pepsi would be happy to have a friend but Laura belongs to the great AYANA family.
6. How would you sum up your wedding day at AYANA?
Beyond perfection. The exceptional memories that we experienced at AYANA have made us loyal guests for life!
How long have you been a dog-handler at AYANA and has this always been your dream job?
Ten years in total. Dream job? Not at first as I used to be afraid of dogs. I started at AYANA as a helper at the kennel, just to do cleaning. Then a K9 squad chief started to train me in a few basic skills about handling dogs. And I fell in love. First with the dogs, then with the job. So I went from being the trained one to being the trainer!
How many dogs in total do AYANA and RIMBA have now at the kennel? Are they all trained in security?
We have a total of 19 active Retrievers (16 Labrador Retrievers and 3 Golden Retrievers). Most hotels will use security dogs that belong to the K9 squad of the local Police Department. We breed our own and let the K9 squad come here to train them.
What’s their training schedule like?
The K9 squad from the Police Department comes here to train the dogs every day. As we have so many dogs, they have to take turns. The training is done on a lawn behind the kennels. Our dogs specialize in detecting explosive substances, so they are likely to be calmer, focused and less agressivve.
What role do you take part in training the dogs?
The chief of the Police Department’s K9 unit personally trained me for years to have the same level of handler skills as he had, because I am here every day along with my six colleagues. We know each dog’s personality, their ups and downs, the vitamins they need, their grooming schedule and of course, the mating season. I also know the best vet on the island as we only trust our dogs to be handled by the best vets.
In your opinion, what is the benefit for hotels having their own kennel?
A lot. We know our dogs really well and they know the area very well too. Their health is easier to monitor and control, too. We had a new litter this year, they are now six months old and will join basic training in a few more months. In the last 10 years, AYANA has bred six litters.
What do you love about dogs? Do you have a favorite from the entire pack?
You know that unconditional love? Dogs are an expert in that. I work with Retrievers, they are working dogs with the warmest character ever so it is impossible not to fall for them. But other breeds are just as loving. It is us humans who define what kind of a dog they will be.
I love them all but Adam (yellow lab) has been here longer than the rest so I have a strong connection with that smart boy. I helped Yessy and Olin (black lab) give birth, I took care of Nacha since he was the weakest puppy who has now become the strongest, so that also creates a special bond.
What advice would you give to a dog owner?
1. Commitment and patience to train them and to let them know you are boss. 2. Take them for walks, this allows you to create a close connection with them. 3. Never bail on them; they will never do that to you. 4. Longer walks :)
1. What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I got a really bad headache when I was working on a cruise ship as Waiter in 1998. The doctor could not find any medical illness and I also tried alternative healing treatment but did not recover so well. Then one day, a Balinese Priest came into my dream and gave me healing water. The priest also advised me to meditate and pray to the Gods for good health. I eventually recovered after meditating for more than two years. Through meditation and spiritual guidance, I also learned how to stop the rain and people started asking for my help to do this.
2. Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes?
The most interesting thing was when I was commissioned as a rainstopper for a summit event in 2003, during the peak of the rainy season. I worked with four of my friends and we were proud that we managed to stop the rain for this big event.
3. What is the worst part of your job?
I had heavy rain three days in a row few years ago and I could not manage to fulfill my mission because of opposing wind forces, and the clients who hired me did not fully believe that a rainstopper can stop the rain. If the client doesn’t really believe in what I do, it affects my ability to do it.
4. What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite thing is seeing my client happy and satisfied with my job, and seeing the event runs smooth and successfully.
5. What is one of the scariest thing behind the scenes?
There are many that I ever experiences. The most scary that I remember was in 2004. Me and my friend were on standby at a Hotel Temple and we fell asleep around 11pm. When we awoke around midnight we saw a very large, tall man in front of us and we were really shocked and scared. But he disappeared after a few seconds.
6. How many companies or hotels use your service?
Apart from AYANA Resort and Spa, there are several hotels who hire me for a special event and also clients hire me for Balinese weddings.
7. What do you do for fun during your time off?
I spend my days off having quality time with family and shopping with them. I also enjoy taking overseas clients coming from Japan and other countries, on tours around my favorite places in Bali.
8. What is something you’d like guests to know about a rainstopper?
Rain is natural and sometimes we cannot predict when it will fall. My suggestion for guests who would like to hold an event, is that they should find a location that has a back up venue especially during rainy season, just in case the rainstopper ?cannot prevent the rain during the event.
9. What happens if rain falls during an event that you’ve been hired for?
I give the client back their money if it rains.
10. What do you do for a living in the dry season?
I run a property business because being a rainstopper is not my livelihood, it is my natural calling but it cannot be the main source of income for my family.