18 June - 18 October 2002

Official Portrait (4 months)

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Toby at 2 months


Toby at 2 1/2 months in his backpack









Good-bye,Toby. I love you and miss you.



Exerpt from a letter I wrote on 01 Nov 2002:


"That was perhaps the thing that surprised me the most having Toby, that I always thought I was a cat person... and I love cats, but after having Toby, I would definitely consider myself a dog-person. I'm gonna to (when I have two free minutes) put some pix of him etc on line.. and then you can see what a goof he was.

I got him when he was two months old... (which I (now) think is too young to be separated from their mothers...)... The first weekend I freaked a bit, because I felt my life was over... no more freedom, and I was scared shitless because I didn't know how to raise him. Cats do that by themselves... a dog needs help.

Suddenly I found myself at home more often, with an excuse to get home when I was out... and ENJOYING having more time at the house... then he got old enough to take him out (after he had his second series of shots, which I gave him myself) and then I found myself at the parc 3 - 4 times a week in the evenings, where the other dog owners come to let their dogs play together. I couldn't remember the last time, I had spent even one evening at the park, let alone making it a regular event. Suddenly life took on the proportions that I didn't realise before, but which are the right ones.

I looked forward to coming home (not always, sometimes I dreaded what Toby might have gotten into while I was away).

As a bull-terrier, he comes already equiped with a great deal of character. They are a race known for being stuborn, and when I first took Toby out for a walk, he got terrified of everything and planted his front paws and refused to move... I had to literally drag him for the first month... Then he got better, and loved going out... always by myside, I took him with me everywhere I could.

He did one thing, that I think is peculiar to him, but maybe I'll find out differently when I get another dog (and yes, I am getting another one, ...). When he was a little puppy, I kept him in the kitchen... and when I would come in in the morning, he would be there waiting... and he would just look at me, his head a bit down, looking up at me with his eyes, kinda in a submissive position... and I could say his name, or do what ever... and until I came right up to him, he would just stay there and fix me with his eyes... like a question, but I never knew what he was asking. Like, "are you the one?" or "can I trust you?" "or are you going to be mean to me?"... I always felt like he was part being serious, and part playing with me...

Once I got up to him he would stop staring, frozen, and he would start wiggling and give me kisses, but only when I got right up to him and touched him.

He still would do that same stare, right up to the end. I never understood, and it always broke my heart.

He was a good dog. He listened to me. Would "Vien" "Assis" "couche-toi"... would walk right next to me (of course on a leash)... If he smelled something on the street, all I would have to do is say no once, and he would leave it alone. I could snap my fingers and have the same effect.

I guess that's what having a dog is... but we had built a whole language of communication up together. He taught me words.

I used to say "ouch" when I wanted him to stop biting and start licking... he understood that one all on his own without my ever explaining it, and one night (the first when I slept in the bedroom by myself (I usually sleep on the couch-bed and have a roommate who sleeps in the bedroom), I told him "vas te coucher"... and he padded off and went to his bath towel in the kitchen, without a word.

If he could have, he would have spent all day in my lap... and if he couldn't do that, then he would at least be beside me, including following me into what ever room I went, even if it was just into the kitchen to get a glass of water (when he was dead asleep).... He would always be there... and if I wasn't there and let him in the living room alone, he would dig up the couch, or dig up the carpet to protest.

I have a million memories more, and we were only together four months.

He was my first dog, and although the end was ugly and horrible, it was only two minutes and the life we had together was four months... the one just doesn't outweigh the other.

I'm going to get another dog, not because I DIDn't love him, but because I did. His not being here has left such a hole in my life, that I can't go on feeling so crippled. I know he understands.

I miss him.

His dying was the hardest thing that I have ever lived through, and I will carry that with me forever, not necessarily as a burden, but he has marked me and I will now never be the same." ...



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