Saturday, January 25, 2014


Toby was born in 1996.  We got him from a Cocker Spaniel rescue group named "Oldies but Goodies" in mid-2001 when he was 4 years old. He was a little skittish, but seemed to get along with Maggie - most of the time. After a few incidents we learned where his boundaries were and respected them. Toby was a good boy, even though when he was younger he was fearful and 'bitey'. After my divorce in 2005, my ex-wife kept Toby and I took Maggie. This worked for a while until in 2008 or so there was a baby involved, and Toby's history made it dangerous to have him in the house with a grabby toddler, so I took him in, reuniting him with Maggie.

Toby had learned to be his own boss, so at first there were some 'negotiations' as to who was in charge between he and Maggie - Maggie won. They put their differences behind them and once more were best friends. When Maggie passed away in 2012, Toby was confused and inconsolable. He would howl and moan, searching the house for her. It was heartbreaking. After a while, he accepted her loss and moved on, but would still howl sometimes when he missed her.

After that, Toby's health began to decline, the tumor on his shoulder grew huge (8" x 6") and began impinging on his internal organs. He had smaller tumors scattered around, and would chew on them sometimes making them bleed - none seriously though. There were several back injuries that took a month or two to heal. His back legs grew weaker and weaker as time went on. We bought carpet for the kitchen and mats for the hallway, where the slick floors made it impossible for him to walk without sliding to the floor. He began developing dementia, where he would be walking and stop, staring into space for several minutes. He would turn dozens of times before lying down sometimes - like he forgot he was turning. Toward the end he would end up tripping himself and fall down and just stay there. He had a hard time standing up after laying down, sometimes Sara or I had to help him up. He had a really bad time with the stairs, but he wouldn't let me carry him - so we just helped him up and down, slowly, one step at a time.

In the last few months, his pain was increasing, his back legs were so weak he found it hard to stand on carpet - they kept sliding apart, making him unstable. Even the carpets and mats were not enough to help him stay upright. He had also lost control of his bowels, and couldn't tell us when he needed to go outside anymore. He was mostly deaf and partially blind - he got very confused sometimes and would run into walls and furniture. He spent most days howling and crying when we weren't home, it was sad to hear him as we got to the door. He recently began vomiting and lost his appetite, so we knew he was just getting worse.

Instead of waiting for him to pass after more misery and pain, we have made one of the hardest decisions of our lives - to let him pass now while he recognizes us and we can say goodbye.


Toby with Maggie - best friends!