Jakarta’s notable society personalities share with Indonesia Tatler their love for, and stories with, their beloved life companions.
It all started when a tiny, grey kitten was pitifully tossed aside into Millie Lukito’s yard—barely even keeping its eyes open. She decided to adopt the cat and named it Sehat, which means healthy, as a prayer for the cat to recover. In a short time, the furball ran even more vigorously than before, and also gained new siblings rescued from the streets: Bobo, Diyor, Telon, and Momo. “I used to think that I’m more of a dog person with my three cute Shih Tzus,” Millie admitted. “However, after living with the cats for three months, I grew fond of them and they of me.” Each morning, she would pet and play with them before work and, at the end of the day, they milled around Millie—all so sweetly and so much to her heart’s delight that she is thinking of adopting a sixth cat, with a side note that: “For street cats, it’s important that they are at least neutered to help reduce the number of strays suffering on the streets.”
In the Hindi language, jaan means “life” or “my darling”. In Indonesia, it’s the nickname for the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), which is an NGO dedicated to improving the country’s animals’ lives—be they domestic or wild. Some of these darlings, 11 rescued dogs in total, are now happily living in the home of Karin Franken, one of three JAAN founders, and often help her with work for the organisation. “Toby, for example, has joined for three years in Jakarta International School’s stress-relief day where students can cuddle and hug different pets, and learn about animal welfare,” Karin says. “I always bring him along because he loves to meet new people and loves children with his very positive attitude.” JAAN also works through coalitions, animal sponsorships or adoptions, and many other ways—Karin herself often goes to rescue the animals with Toby in tow when it comes to dogs.
Watch the Birdie
It was a year ago when Deddy Kusuma bought a cockatoo from a friend who couldn’t take care of it. Without thinking too much, Deddy Kusuma agreed to take this beautiful blue-and-yellow bird home as a new member of his bird family. “I named it Julio, inspired by the name of my favourite singer of all time, Julio Iglesias,” said Deddy. He added that Julio is the most obedient among his other pets. “He never looks angry, never gets sick, and doesn’t need much effort to take care of, which makes me happy.” Every morning, Deddy’s house assistant will take Julio sunbathing near the pool for around 30 minutes or an hour for his health. Meanwhile, singing is one of Julio’s hobby. “He has a good voice, and he’d like to sing every morning,” said Deddy. “I never miss going by his cage soon after I wake up to feed him and hear his beautiful voice.”
The brothers was given to Eliana from a dear friend in 2010. When Eliana Putri Antonio first met the twins, she thought the pups were sister and brother. “Both of us turned out to be males, so mum named us Buba, for my brother, and Baba, for myself,” one of the dogs would say. Eliana explained that their names are adapted from the Aussie slang word that means “baby”. “The name has inspired us to love one another,” Buba added. “We grew up together and never split up, have shared unique habits, and always sleep side-by-side every single night.” When Buba and Baba wake up in the morning, Eliana or the babysitter usually takes them outside for morning walks. “I really enjoy it, because that’s where I can meet our friends, play around, or learn new tricks,” Baba said. “Unlike me, my brother Buba, doesn’t like going outside to socialise: but when it comes to food, for sure he eats more than me.”
Home Sweet Home
Greeted by barks left and right, Niniek Purnomo was in Los Angeles to learn about running a shelter. “We believe not to buy but to adopt; there are many nice dogs out there that need a forever-loving home,” Niniek said. “On top of that, we believe that breeding is animal cruelty. How can we claim we are dog lovers if we support animal cruelty to dogs?” One beautiful German Shepherd, however, only barked whenever the group passed by its cage—she even came to the door to allow Niniek to pet her. “The shelter didn’t know how to handle her and advised us to look for a less hyper dog, but I had faith in her,” Niniek said. “Her name is Roxanne, and she went home with us the next day.” Her trust was rightly placed as Roxy, the dog’s nickname, had been trained to sit, stay, go, eat, sleep, lay, or fetch, and is protective towards her family especially to Niniek’s daughter. “Since I’m an active dog, my parents like to walk me around twice a day, but I don’t like to swim,” Roxy would say. “I like it best when I’m around their baby, however—she is just the cutest human ever.”
Halo, a German Shepherd, is the latest member of Bogdan Vlase’s canine family. “I was living in Los Angeles when my previous owner was forced to choose between his new wife or me,” she would say if she could talk. “Having picked his wife, I was left outside in the cold and was very sad as we had been friends since I was born.” Luckily, Bogdan, who was visiting the city, became her new dad and brought Halo back to Jakarta to meet her new family of fellow rescues. “I already liked my name, so I was allowed to keep it,” says Halo. “When I got to my new home, I was allowed to play football with my new best friend, Teddy.” Jakarta can be hot but that doesn’t stop Halo from showing off her premier-league skills: “We go for walks all the time, have breakfast together, and, at night me, all our furry family members get to sleep in one big bed,” she says happily.