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When Toby Stopped Dancing for His Dinner

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Eight years ago we were blessed to find our new CDO (Chief Dog in Charge of Operations) at the Peninsula Humane Society. He was, they told us, a three time loser, having been returned by other families. We were probably his last chance and we took him home and he soon took over our home, our office and our lives.

Toby was one of the happiest dogs we'd ever known. In the morning he would run around in circles, totally excited to be going out for a walk, and when we put food in his bowl he would dance around on his hind legs trying to sniff the bowl unttil we put it down. I often wished I could have his great attitude about life's everyday events. 

Dear friends had invited us after New Years to bring Toby to Lake Tahoe to visit with them at their cabin. At one point we were at a spot by the lake where Toby could be off leash and at first he walked around sniffing until suddenly his paw touched the water at the edge of the lake. Realizing that he was off leash and near water, two of his favorite things, he started dashing back and forth, in and out of the water, leaping for pure joy. He went wild for around 15 minutes until he had exhausted himself. If anyone tells you that dogs can't smile, let me tell you that is absolutely false! Toby was grinning from ear to ear, soaked and joyous.

Around two weeks ago, Toby became less enthusiastic about food. He still ran around in circles whenever he thought we might take him out for a ride in the car and go for a walk, but he wasn't very interested in food. By late last week, he was hardly eating at all. We made an appointment with the vet. 

Monday morning, he seemed lethargic until he realized that we were going out. He spun around in circles and leapt into the car. As we drew near to his favorite spot on the planet, Fort Funston, he didn't make the usual fuss, spinning around in his kennel and crying for joy. Still, he leapt out of the car and headed into the park. Soon, though, we could tell something was really wrong. He was winded after a short time. The appointment with the vet was coming up soon. 

The doctor found a lump and after an x-ray she recommended surgery to see what was going on inside. What she found was really bad. Toby was going to be in a lot of pain and there was really no hope. Yesterday, at around 12:30, we held Toby as he slept and then, we let him go.

Right now our hearts are broken as we look from place to place around the house, places where Toby would be, and he's not there. Susan Munroe had taken some pictures of us and Toby at an open house she held at her studio last year. I remembered that she had gifted us with the photo at the top. Here on the right is Toby at Half Moon Bay, near the water, and thinking about nibbling on my ear. This is how I want to remember Toby. Thanks Wendy Wark for that photo from your birthday party by the beach. Toby loved to party, especially near water!

Toby was a fixture in our lives and at Reach And Teach. Less visible at the shop on 25th Avenue than he was at 178 South Blvd., but still running the show. We'll have Toby's cookies at the shop for any dogs who want to come by and console us over the next few days. And the one treat that even in the last day or so still got him to dance, Pupperoni. 

Goodbye Toby. We love you!




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