Toby arrived at Fauna in 2002, and so much has happened since then. He has had some tough times for sure, but most of all because he had lost his whole family before he came to Fauna. Looking back now, I can see that his move so soon after he lost his brother was possibly even harder for him than we could have imagined. Not only did he lose his brother and his mother the year before that, but he had to leave his home of many years, and the people he knew so well. Such trauma and shock, all at once was all very difficult for him.
Alone, scared and depressed, it was a difficult time for him. In those first days after he arrived here, when his caregiver could not bear the pain and was not available for Toby, we had to rely on other methods. He was curled up in a ball, ready to give up, it seemed. For me the last resort was to introduce him to new friends so quickly, not knowing how he might be with them.
It was Donna Rae and Sue Ellen that seemed to be most sensible choices for this fellow. They were close and had experienced many new relationships over the years, but it was also a concern because of their ages and not knowing at all what Toby might be like with them. When the door between them was opened, he ran into their arms much to their surprise. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life, the looks on Donna Rae and Sue Ellen’s faces when this new fellow in their lives just ran into their arms and hugged and kissed them and hugged them again. He did not stop and he would not let them go. He needed their love, support and friendship immediately! And they gave it. It was the most beautiful moment and one I will never forget. They saved Toby.
He has some great friendships now with all the girls of Fauna. It’s really only Sue Ellen he doesn’t go with at the moment. She has become too frail to be with him, but he sees her daily, and always knows she is there. Toby has enough female attention to keep any male happy. Most of the girls do really enjoy their time with him; he is kind to them and rather relaxed most of the time. Petra and Chance will choose to go with him. Rachel almost always wants to be with him and Maya seems to be someone he chooses to be with.
Most recently, in the first weeks after Tatu’s arrival, she met Toby through the Plexiglas, and through some small metal openings. She seems to like Toby too. Perhaps one day they can spend some time together.
Toby’s life in the zoo, which was a rather disgusting environment, left him with some serious physical ailments. The building he slept in and spent most winters was cold dark, unheated, very wet and damp. He had cold steel bars to sleep on and barely any sun except for the short summer in North Québec. He is seriously arthritic and cannot walk well at all. He can barely extend is legs. It has had an impact on his digits too; although we give him medication for pain, it is clear he still has problems.
Toby spends most of his days in the warmth of the sun or laying up high on the wooden structures. He loves to be with friends, but sometimes he will go off to be on his own. He has never gotten his love for chocolate or chips out of his system.
Toby has won our hearts and is a valued member of the Fauna family. Most times when we look for him, he will gladly come for a visit. He is loving, kind and sensitive. Spending time with Toby means sitting and relaxing, not playing chase.