I've used this forum in the past to eulogize people close to me that have passed on. Today, I want to talk about another loss, this time our pet, Toby.
Toby was born on March 9, 1995 and turned 14 earlier this year. Based on my math, that made him over 100 in dog years. Back then, we went to visit his mother's owner's house and when the kids saw puppies, they had to have one. We picked one out and came back a few weeks later to take him home. On April 29, Toby moved to his new home - we had a pet.
Looking through some records, I found that Toby was 8.4 pounds on his first doctor visit a few weeks after we got him. I recall that he was so small we worried he would get stuck in a 4 inch drain pipe (I put a cover on the pipe to keep that from happening). He soon outgrew that risk all together.
Toby was a mix of breeds. Primarily Black Lab, he also had a lot of Border Collie in him and possibly some Chow. This made him a loving, fun dog. The Border Collie made his hair long as seen in these pictures. When we had him groomed the first time, his hair had gotten matted and it was past time. The only way they could groom him was to cut his hair in some places all the way to the skin. When we picked him up, they told us not to laugh at him, that it would embarrass him. I remember thinking "HE'S A DOG!".
But then he came out with his tail (literally) between his legs. He was indeed embarrassed. We praised him and told him how good he looked. After that, every time he was groomed, he walked around with his head held high, proud of his new look.
In 1998, Toby moved with the rest of us to Greenville, SC. He took the move well and made the deck his primary sleeping place. He would stand on the deck and survey HIS backyard.
Lately, Toby spent more time inside. When my grandson started crawling, he would crawl all over Toby. Toby just lay there, taking it all in. If it got too rough, Toby would simply get up and move outside.
In the last few years, Toby had developed arthritis. We treated this with some medicine from the vet. When he first began taking the medicine, he reacted very well. He seemed to even dance when we would roll up the pill in a slice of cheese. But unfortunately, the arthritis seemed to adapt to the medicine and he soon slowed down again and stopped dancing.
This past year, Toby had trouble standing up from a laying down position. He got around this by standing longer than he should. Of course, this made his legs hurt more. When we had him groomed, he lay in the floor for a couple days to recuperate.
In recent weeks, he had fallen 2 or 3 times and had trouble getting back up. He had lost a lot of muscle mass in his hips and body. The doctor said that this usually meant some form of cancer.
At his age, doing more diagnostics didn't make sense. If we found some cancer, it's unlikely he could stand the treatment.
Trips to the vet had become painful for Toby. Even getting up out of the floor was painful. After a lot of soul searching, I had to make a decision on what was easiest for him. So after 14+1/2 years, I decided it was time to end Toby's pain.
The hardest part of this was calling the kids and telling them. We had talked about it for a few weeks, so hopefully it wasn't a surprise. But I know it's hard on them to loose a pet that has been a part of the family for so long.
We will always remember Toby and the joy he brought us.
Tobias "Toby" Andrew Barnett
March 9, 1995 - December 2, 2009