The problem with dogs is that for all the joy they give us, they’re with us for such a short time. It’s almost inversely proportionate, like if they were more like humans (held grudges, worried about things, etc.) they’d live longer, but because they’re almost always full of the good things they burn out faster. Unfortunately Toby, a dog with nothing but joy and wonder, left us today.
It’s actually a miracle that Toby lived a day let alone 11 years – He was stillborn, and only thanks to the heroic efforts of his breeder, was he resuscitated and able to join the rest of his littermates, and that’s what led to us getting Toby. We had been looking for a new puppy, but hadn’t had success yet when we got a call from our friend the breeder. She had this puppy that had been stillborn, but seemed okay, still in case there were complications she’d rather he go to someone she knew, and so it was that we brought a new Golden Retriever puppy home. Keeping with our tradition of Disney related names, we settled on Toby (from “The Great Mouse Detective”).
Turns out Toby was brain damaged, but only the way that all Goldens are – He loved to fetch tennis balls, and would do so till he couldn’t walk (we had to put him on a “pitch count” in the summers), but he had no interests in birds. He didn’t like the water, but didn’t mind hopping in the tub for a bath. He wasn’t scared of things (he didn’t like the vacuum, treating it mostly with disdain, but he never freaked out about it), but he startled very easily and he *hated* walking on linoleum.
Toby was also one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known and he loved everyone. In fact one of the clues that he was really sick was that he didn’t get up to greet us when we came home (anyone who ever visited knows that he was always right there with a toy or a ball as soon as you came in the door). He had been to the vets’ on the 11th of this month, and while old, all the test came back normal and the blood work in good order. Unfortunately, the visit on Monday produced much different results, he was severely anemic, and x-x-rays showed his lungs (and probably abdomen) riddled with cancer.
So we gave him a couple of really good days with lots of treats and double bacon cheeseburger, and this afternoon we said our final goodbyes. We’ll miss him.