A week ago, I planned to next share my adventures in weaving. Since then Toby’s condition has continued to decline. He is stable and without pain, thankfully. For those who do not know, Toby was diagnosed with brain stem damage over 8 months ago.
Now, the paralysis is advancing. He is quickly loosing function of his legs. He finds it so difficult to stand, and sleeps even more than in past months. Eating and continence is what we are monitoring because no-one minds lifting his 10 lbs or making him comfortable.
Toby has always been a presence in this my only blog. He is resting here at the foot of my office chair as I write this post. On two levels this is how I would like to celebrate the Tobester: in the present tense; and in the four walls of TKK where others may read as well.
He came to us on April 25, 2005 as Ron. The North York office of Toronto Animal Services chose the name because of his clear rage towards their tech, Ron. It was an inside joke, so when Toby came right away to N and not only tolerated but enjoyed our visit the good people approved our adoption on the spot. The clerk in charge spoke in dire tones:
Do you have children?
In unison, “No.”
Do you want children… ever?
Two surprised voices, “I guess?”
We assume that he may have neurological problems due to in-breeding, and may never be safe around children.
To N: You are the first man that he has not tried to bite.
Other salient points were that he was estimated as 3 years, 9 months old, was brought in by an overwhelmed family who spoke little English, and had spent a month in rehabilitation. A history of trauma was apparent, and they had never seen a dog who loved being dried off after baths more than this guy.
We named him Toby on our way home that day. They were equally right about the abuse, and his drying-off glee. Love, and structure took us so far. Good, gentle vets and books on dog behaviour did as well. We both grew up with dogs but none of them had survived cruelty.
It was a long time before anyone earned their way into this core truth – Toby is a big suck. He loves the love in cuddle form. In 9 years he has never bothered with a single toy but if you sit at his level then your lap will be occupied.
Before his eyesight started to fail, Toby loved his walks. We all enjoyed going out on long walks in the neighbourhood, together. Snapping his lead for a good run through an open field was as close to bliss as we ever have seen our little big dog. It’s a close second to the drying-off fun times.
His middle name is Hopeful for a reason. If cheese, chocolate or your glass of water can be nosed then this dog is hopeful. If you rustle a plastic bag within ear-shot then this dog is hopeful for a walk. When he met new people, and a cramped apartment this dog was hopeful.
We love him dearly. That we even got a small breed dog through the city is marvellous. His simple, uncomplaining way over the course of this tough year for him teaches me each day that I have with him. Yesterday, I asked our vet’s office how they handle such things if we need to cross the road of putting him down or if he dies at home. That was a hard call to make but I am better prepared come what may.
Your thoughts & kind comments, replies on Twitter have all helped. Thank you, all.