When I first started podcasting The Indie Dog, one of the first stories was about a little dog named Inkling and a lovely lady named Vinita Rabbi.
A little background:
Inkling’s mother was Inky, and her uncles we believe, were Pinky and Ponky.
Yes I named them, because I saw the three of them one night, and had to come up names quick, so I could report their presence in Cooke Town on our dog squad Whatsapp Group.
This was during lockdown and before we could get these three spayed, along came Inkling, Inky’s puppy.
Poor Inkling had been run over by a car and was discovered in a terrible state in Milton Street Park, by Vinita’s husband. She was taken to CARE by squad members, where she was tended to and returned to the streets in a few months.
But she wasn’t able to live on the streets in her feeble condition, a disabled leg and timid personality. Other dogs on the street were only too happy to pick on her and make life miserable. Of course, Vinita offered to take her in, so she could be friends with her other dog.
Happy end to sad story you thought? Not so fast.
Vinita’s landlady a dog hating curmudgeon chased Vinita and her family out as quickly as she could. The following is an update from Vinita, in a Whatsapp message to The Frazer Canine Squad, and I quote:
“Inkling has turned her back to living on the streets. I would like to thank all in the FCS for the support and being with me through the ordeal. Our landlady was the meanest person. She just could not tolerate the dogs, especially inkling. She was abusive too and forced us to vacate.
We have found an independent house near Ascension church, which is good for our doggies, Kubo and Inkling. They love it here. It's peaceful and spacious.
I do feed Inky, once and day, early around 6:30 am when I take Inkling for a walk. They also get to catch up with each other. I do not feed her brothers, Pinky and Ponky. They do not come to our new place because there are other dogs on this street. Right now we have found peace. We are a happy family again, happier because of inkling. “
Well, this week, I’m not interviewing anyone. This episode is a tribute to Toby – The Gentleman of Milton Street.
I don’t know where Toby’s story started exactly, but by the time it ended, there were at least a hundred people in Cooke Town, my neighbourhood, who knew him, loved him, fed him, patted him, gave him belly rubs and ran to his rescue when he got ill, dropping all their other activity.
He had that effect. Which brings me to the reason why this episode of The Indie dog is dedicated to Toby.
Taking care of street dogs in a community does more than satisfy one’s own karmic needs. It actually creates a common cause where people can unite.
Creating a common ‘enemy’ is fairly common. It’s a tool employed by despots, dictators and perpetrators of world wars to whip up frenzy and polarize the public, usually to attack some minority, some imaginary threat.
Toby was a polarizer in the community, for sure, but for exactly the opposite reasons. He provided a focus for people to love. Also give vent to their feelings of intense adoration. This includes baby talk, treats, cuddles, belly rubs and so on, which everyone knows releases endorphins and makes you feel good.
Toby gave Cooke Town all this free therapy for several years. His fans could approach him for a session and go back home and not have to worry about regular feeding, medical issues and so on.
Ramjee (my significant Other and I and our household staff) took care of those needs since his primary place of residence was outside our gate on Milton Street. We live exactly opposite the park which was also Toby’s haunt.
We came into Toby’s life I suppose in the middle of it. He appeared out of the blue some seven years ago, already a full