Toby died suddenly. They are not sure why he died, but pining because of Jazzy's death in March may have had something to do with it. As much as Jazzy annoyed him through being boisterous, they loved each other so much.
Toby would turn 10 on 9 December, the day after my birthday. When we got him, my friend Lucy was down to stay and I was at work. Lucy went with my parents to pick him up. He was such a naughty puppy! I remember one day when he was a baby, I came home from uni feeling a bit hung over after a big night out, let him out of his run, and I went to nap. He pulled all the washing off the line and was proudly sitting in the sheets. I couldn't be mad at him because he was so cute.
Another funny thing was although he is a water dog, he is such a fraidy cat around water. He will go around a soaker hose instead of stepping over it because he did't want to get wet!
I had a nice play with Toby at Easter. He was lost without Jazz but he relished the one on one attention. He carefully chose his toys in toy bucket. He was very particular. He knew he wanted his pink squeaker. Not the frisbee, not the treat ball, just his squeaker. We played squeaker for ages on the lawn. He was bounding and snuggling like he did when he was a baby.
He was also getting bones daily. Not just for special treats like when Jazzy was alive. Daily! All his Christmases came at once.
I was really proud when he started taking treats directly from my hand. He was always so wary of people feeding him. I tried to sneak him extra because Jazzy would always steal his. Once, Mum fed them their worm tablets and Toby was too slow in taking it so Jazz ate his!
Mum said he caught two rabbits these past few days. I said to her this morning he would have been glad not to have had to share them with Jazz. Jazz would walk around with a rabbit head for days, and rub it against your legs - yuck! I hope Toby enjoyed his last two rabbits.
Even though Toby and Jazz are my pets by distance, I love them like they lived with me. Mum and Dad, and me when I lived at home, gave the dogs the best life a dog can have. They loved it at home, and gave us so much love and joy.
I can't remember when we didn't have a dog. We've had one or more almost constantly since 1990, minus five months between Meg's death in 2000 and getting Toby in 2001. Having a pet is like having a child. They idolise you - and there's not even that period in their life when you're embarrassing to them like with a teenager. They love you forever, and need you for all of their life. I am amazed about the love shown by them when they look into your eyes. And how perceptive they are - they know what you're saying, and they'll always listen. I feel for my parents now because they've lost another child.
We called Toby 'Toto' - like on the Wizard of Oz. The name 'Toto' probably didn't suit him because he was a big dog, not at all dainty. But I think Toto will be sniffing out bones (or 'boe-boes' as we called them) along the yellow brick road forever - probably trying to guard his bones from Jazz!
Rest in peace Toby, I love you.
Edit - Lucy has reminded me - he would get so excited he would do a wee! I also remember a friend came to visit and Toby was so excited he jumped through the fly screen, tearing it off the door frame!