Time to meet Toby our trusty, devoted, a little crazy, never cranky adventure pup. We have been dog owners for many, many years and our soul mate dog, Biggles, a delicious golden retriever had just died. He was a very fragile 14 when he passed away, and truth be told he probably hung on for an extra year because he knew we were not ready to say good bye to him yet. Losing Biggles was beyond heartbreaking and clearly after 4 months I was not getting over it.
Hubby came home one day and found me in the kitchen, howling - the ugly cry, like I had been doing every day for 4 months since Biggles died. Hubby said, "Get in the car, there are rescue dogs for adoption in front of the pet store in the village." I was really not sure if I could replace Biggles or if I even wanted to but I went along anyways, after all I was out of Kleenex!
We saw this 3 month chocolate colored puppy with big eyes. I picked him up and he put one paw on each shoulder and hugged me like he was a real person. SOLD! At first, we thought he was a chocolate lab mix, hence the name Toby, short for Toblerone (a very popular and yummy chocolate bar in Europe). But as the years have gone by we really think he is more Viszla than Lab.
I call Toby my "Velcro dog," as he never wants to be more than 5 inches away from me. Day and night, he is by my side. I always vowed I would never be one of those doggy parents who let their dog sleep in the bed with them...epic fail. From almost the first night, Toby slept with us. He starts off at my feet, then in the middle of the night he becomes a star fish. Then by about 4am he likes to spoon and although he does wake me with his wiggling, I do find it hard not to sleep with him now.
Toby loves to be outside all the time. We are fortunate to live very close to a reservoir and our daily walks are a huge part of his day. He chases bunnies, squirrels and deer and often catches them too! He loves to swim but turns his nose up when it gets too cold. He usually finds something dead laying around on our walks and loves to attempt to bring the dead stuff home. He always looks heartbroken when I make him leave half decomposing birds, bunnies and squirrels behind.
Toby has a hearty appetite and we try very hard to keep him trim. He tolerates his dry kibble for breakfast, inhales the heartier mix of kibble and stew for dinner and goes mad for bacon - but then show me a dog or a boy that doesn’t.
Last year I had the bright idea that Toby and I would train to be service dog partners. I am ashamed to say we got expelled from the course. Every time a dog came near me, which is unavoidable in life and in this class Toby said “If you take one step closer to her, I will rip your throat out." This happened so many times we were quietly and politely asked to leave the class and so we never graduated...oops.
On that same note, separation anxiety is a big issue for Toby. I am not sure if it is with Toby or with me. I just cannot stand the thought of him being alone and if I know I am going to be gone from the house for more than 4 hours I usually get our lovely dog walker, Tiffany, to come and keep him company for a while. There are very few occasions when we cannot take Toby with us when we leave town but if we must I have found him a very lovely Pet Hotel, where he has a room with a window, a bed and a TV. He gets 4 walks and 1 playroom session a day, and if I pay extra (and I sometimes do) at bedtime he gets the turndown service where someone will come into his room, read him a story and pet him for 15 minutes. Nope not spoiled, rather spoiled rotten!
He is worth all of it and he is one of the many loves of my life. (Most of whom are of the boy variety i.e boys and hubby.) Whoever said life is better with a dog is so right. He fills my days with unconditional love, he just likes to hang with me, no demands or expectations and if there are belly rubs and nose kisses, all is well with his world.
Do you have dog friend? Are you a pet lover like me? Would love to hear your pet stories and thoughts in the comments section below.