Christine Tsang

The Walnut and Company Founder With Her Goldens, Walnut & Cashew

By The Get Leashed Doggy Style Team

When the perfect dog finds you, sometimes you just can’t help but want to give them a sibling to play with. We first met Christine and Walnut at DOGA, with their Shiba Inu friends. To our delight, Christine added a second Golden Retriever, Cashew, to her family just before the holidays – and he’s every bit as sweet and smart as Walnut. Like many entrepreneurs we meet, Christine was inspired to create something for her own dog which turned into a side business. Get to know Christine and these two nutty pups below.

Please tell us about yourself, your profession, and what a typical work day is like.

My husband and I live in the East end of Toronto with our two Golden Retrievers, Walnut and Cashew. I’m a finance manager for one of the big five banks, and my husband is a web developer. We also own and operate our dog treat business right out of our home, which has been our main focus for the past year.

We began making healthy, homemade treats for Walnut when we switched his diet from kibble to raw. This naturally progressed into making treats for our family and friend’s dogs, and eventually turned into what it is today: Walnut and Company Premium Dog Treats. It’s truly been a fun and rewarding experience, and we plan to dedicate more time and resources into the business.

A typical day begins with Walnut and Cashew waking me up at 6:30am sharp for their breakfast, followed by a walk and play with their neighborhood dog friends. We live in a very dog-friendly community, so chances of bumping into their friends are high.  After the pups have their fun we head back home and get ready for our nine to fives. Our evenings are just as busy as our days! We rush home to Walnut and Cashew and feed them dinner. We then focus on making treats for Walnut and Company, as well as fulfilling our online orders. We generally end the night with a one-hour walk around the neighborhood and a quick five to ten minute training session for both Walnut and Cashew.

Please tell us a bit about your dogs.  How did they come into your life?  Is there a story behind their names and why you chose this breed?

We decided on a Golden Retriever after our friend brought her golden, Oatmeal, to a cottage trip.  We fell in love with him instantly! His temperament, facial expressions, personality, and overall love for life made us want to get a Golden.

In 2012 we welcomed home our first pet ever, a beautiful Golden Retriever! Naming him was definitely a challenge. We wanted a unique name that matched his fur color and goofy personally. After some serious brainstorming we settled on Walnut and call him Nutty for short. 

Walnut is now 5 years old and quite possibly the best thing that happened to us. He is quiet, gentle, patient and loves to please. He works extremely hard to learn new tricks, and while he may not catch on right away, he usually sleeps on it and “gets it” the next day. It’s truly amazing.  He is loved by everyone around him, and he loves them all back ten times more.

We knew we wanted a second golden after our positive experience with Walnut. We also knew we wanted a golden from Walnut’s bloodline. Earlier this year we brought home our second Golden Retriever, Cashew – Walnut’s great nephew. Settling on a name for Cashew was much easier, since we knew we wanted to keep with the nut theme. We also considered naming him Chestnut, Pistachio, or Peanut. We think Cashew was the right choice.

He is now 4 months old and surprisingly laid back for a puppy.  He recently graduated from puppy school and did very, very well. We work on training and socializing every single day, since the first few months are the most crucial. He’s already developed quite the personally and, like Walnut, loves to please the humans.

Walnut and Cashew get along very well and really starting to bond. We look forward to many more years with our two best friends.

How would you describe your personal style?

Comfy and classy!  I love being comfortable and love dressing up.  My weekend go-to outfit would be skinny jeans and a tee, but when I dress up for an occasion, I’m all about dresses and heels! 

How would you describe the look and feel of your home?

I’d have to say somewhere between modern-rustic and contemporary. We live in a small and cozy Toronto home, so space is sometimes an issue. You eventually learn to buy only the things you need, and realize you sometimes have to build your own furniture so it fits the space well.

What does your ideal weekend look like?

Between our two dogs, nine to five jobs, Walnut and Company Treats, and family and friends, we hardly find any time to relax throughout the week. We try to keep our weekends as quiet as possible and focus on the treat business, hanging with the dogs, and visiting family.

Walnut loves to swim, so in the summer you’ll see us at the beach almost every weekend. We’re so excited to bring Cashew to the beach this summer and teach him how to swim and dive!  In the evenings we cuddle on the couch with the pups, watch a movie, or drive around and surprise-visit our parents with the dogs!    

What inspires you?

My husband. He is ambitious, determined, supportive, and very hard working. He’s always pushing me to do my best and giving me the confidence I need to do more both personally and professionally. Our dogs also inspire me. They remind me that life is more than just working, and also encourage me to get out and get physical.   

Finally, can you leave us with a funny story about your dogs?

Walnut has always loved the water. In fact, I think it’s safe to say he’s obsessed with diving and swimming. One mild winter day we decided to take him to Sherwood Park off-leash trail. There wasn’t much snow on the ground, mostly just melted ice puddles and mud.  The moment we removed Walnut’s leash he ran down a muddy hill to a shallow stream of water for a dip. Soaking wet, he ran back up this muddy hill, and literally slid back down headfirst. This went on for a good four to five minutes. As you can imagine he was completely covered in mud from nose to tail, and no longer looked like a golden. At first we wanted to stop him, but just seeing how much he was having we instead decided to pull out the camera and start recording. The video is now on his Facebook page along with some really funny comments.

Stay up to date with Walnut on social:

Instagram: @walnutthegoldenretriever | Facebook: Walnut The Golden Retriever

Instagram: @walnut_and_company | Facebook: Walnut and Company