Christy & Toki
Toki and I met in February of 2000 when she jumped up and grabbed onto my sweatshirt sleeve. All I could see were her little black, bug eyes staring at me over my chomped-on arm. “Will you be my Valentine?” she implored with her eyes. I accepted and we were inseparable from that day on.
In 2006, Toki was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor. After several tests and 2 surgeries, Toki came home with what we refer to as her 6″ tummy tuck, wearing an aqua blue body stocking to hold all of the stitches in place. As I watched her lying in a sunbeam with a frozen bag of corn on her belly, I promised Toki her very own website once she recovered. Several days later, her biopsy results came back with clean margins, deeming her cancer-free. HURRAY!
We had many brainstorming sessions about her website that went hand in hand with daily walks and belly rubs. During a meeting with my sports trading card clients, it occurred to me that I couldn’t truly relate to their industry since I’m not a big sport fan. It should be no surprise that my thoughts wandered… the idea sparked… and the light bulb turned on! PET TRADING CARDS! So with this crazy idea, Toki and I set out to build her pet trading card website and officially launched TokiPoki.com in early 2010.
To celebrate, I put away the computer, put everything in storage and Toki and I jumped in the car, leaving Los Angeles for a cross-country road trip that lasted 5 months. To promote TokiPoki.com, we visited pet stores, crashed pet parties and hung out at dog parks nationwide.
Toki making friends in San Francisco.
Toki loved car rides... she's a pawesome navigator and a not so good back seat driver.
In Rhode Island, we met 11-year-old Ryan Agnew, who recruited at least 60 pets in his neighborhood! It was Ryan, a recent liver transplant patient, who suggested Toki Poki® pet trading cards be delivered to the kids in hospitals. Toki agreed and so began our passion of “Pet Trading Cards with a Purpose.”
Toki and Ryan
During our adventures, Toki handed out her trading card and became friends with every one she met… whether it was on the streets of New York City, the sands of Santa Barbara, or the mountains of North Carolina.
Christy and Toki at Hendry’s Beach in Santa Barbara, CA
Toki in Times Square, NYC
Pet trading cards became a great way for pets and their people to connect in a fun and memorable way. (Some people even think your pet is a celebrity when they have their own trading card! LOL)
Sabrina enjoying her pet trading card collection.
Toki loved nothing more than to make children smile. Her small Boston Terrier frame did not match her big-dog personality. Over the years, Toki transformed into canine cancer superhero, “My-T-Dog,” winning many battles with canine cancer. Her resilience and loving nature were her super powers!
A sweet hello.
After our journey, we settled in my Texas hometown and established the Toki Poki® Petquarters. Toki welcomed over a thousand members (each with their own pet trading card) representing 42 states, 10 countries and to date has delivered over 350,000 pet trading cards to children in hospitals nationwide.
Toki loved being a dirty desert dog and hanging out with her offroad team. The TPM Racing “5 car” was a sweet ride… and almost as fast as Toki!
Morgan proudly wearing her Toki Poki ``Racing for Rescues`` tee
Toki was honored to lead the PuppyUp! Walk in San Antonio, TX as their 2012 Canine Cancer Hero. The Puppy Up Foundation is committed to discovering the common links between canine and human cancers and the causes of these cancers through comparative oncology research.
Toki always supported cancer awareness causes!
Toki was the ONLY real animal to have a Pawparazzi Pet created after her likeness. Toki loved her Pawparazzi “Toki.”
Toki Poki Superhero Pawty in celebration of Toki’s 100th Birthday with her buddies, Cooper and Teddy.
My-T-Dog succumbed to her 10-year battle with cancer in 2015. Toki is not forgotten and continues to be the soul and strength of Toki Poki®, bringing smiles to kids of all ages. Although she’s traded in her superhero cape for beautiful angel wings, she is remembered for her loving spirit and willingness to be the crusader against canine cancer and the inspiration for Toki Poki® “Pet Trading Cards with a Purpose.”
During her last year, Toki lost her eyesight and hearing but it didn't stop her. Toki's favorite spot was in the front yard, hanging out with her “deer” friends and eating watermelon.