Dimas Leimeina settles in at Tanamera café in the heart of Jakarta’s financial district, orders a strong black coffee, and grins happily and gappily. Two of his upper teeth are missing – almost certainly due to a predilection for Indonesian clove cigarettes – but that doesn’t seem to faze him. Little does, and for good reason.
“I had my first dog when I was in elementary school,” he says, flexing the tattoos on his substantial forearms and fiddling with a red trucker’s cap. “Actually, it was a wolf that my father adopted and gave to me. He howled all day and night and terrified my cockatoo, whose feathers fell off.” It’s a surreal story, but then Leimeina is a surreal kind of guy, with a CV that puts most to shame. To him, there is no bucket list – you simply get on with life and live it to the full, seizing opportunities as you go.
Working as a roadie in the early 1990s, he saw first-hand the lack of protection and support for visiting artists like Phil Collins and Sting. “There was no one taking care of these huge names when they came to Jakarta, so I decided to.” All Access, the company he formed in 1996, is still going strong. He provides security, takes care of hotel bookings and backstage passes, and caters to the stars and their every whim.
And goodness, can they be demanding. Asked who Dimas has worked with and the response is a snappy “you name it”. He reels off a who’s who of the Billboard Hot 100: Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, Bruno Mars, Taiwan's super-popular boy-band F4, Justin Bieber, Ariane Grande. “Ariane was lovely,” he says, “not too diva-ish. Beyoncé was the biggest diva until I met Mariah.”
Are there stars he loves working with? “Jamiroquai,” he replies, without skipping a beat. “And Ronan Keating,” the fomer lead singer of Boyzone. “They treated us like friends, not as their crew. Also the lead singer of Linkin Park (Chester Bennington). All lovely guys.” Who is at the other end of that scale? “The lead singer of The Corrs. [For the record, it’s Andrea Corr]. She was all, ‘I don’t want this, I want that. Give me an iPhone, no not that one’.” As he talks, memories of the guitarist Nigel Tufnell’s ‘mini-bread catastrophe’ in the film Spinal Tap bubble to the surface.
But Dimas’s fame is dwarfed by the adulation poured upon his dog Teebar, a 64-kilo Alaskan Malamute who has an online following of more than 25,000, courtesy of his Instagram account @matakuaja. On Sundays, the two stroll through Jakarta, stopping to allow the giant fluffball to be mobbed by an adoring public, many of whom know him for his role as doggie brand ambassador for Royal Canin, a pet food company owned by Mars.
Nor is Teebar his only four-legged friend. Having grown up with Great Danes and Golden Retrievers (not to mention a wolf), Dimas has surrounded himself with Malamutes. He has 12 in all, the youngest of which, a year-old puppy, already weighs in at a hefty 42kg, as well as two French Bulldogs and an American Akita. The dog-walking he does himself, waking at 7am and taking them out three at a time, for 30 minutes each. That’s two hours of solid pavement-bashing, hauled around by at least 200 kilos of prime canine, with a second round of walkies at midnight.
Every two months the whole group, two legs and four, decamp to the rainforest east of Jakarta, where they spend a week trekking through hill and dale. “Some days, I release them and they go wherever they want,” he smiles. “They always come back.” Asked what he loves most about dogs, Dimas thinks for a moment.
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