A lot of people don’t know this but I got Toby in 2007 from who I thought to be a reputable breeder. Turns out they weren’t so reputable and although I don’t think it was a puppy mill per say, mom wasn’t on site and that’s always a red flag.
In any case, the day after I picked up Toby and refused to let him go again, he got sick. Really sick. I brought him to the vet right away and he was hospitalized for Parvo. Because of the dicey nature of the disease and it’s impressive kill rate on puppies I had to pay $400 up front ($50 more than I paid for him the day before) before they would even admit him.
About another $300 dollars later, some touch and go home visits, and Toby’s health settled down. With some extra lovings, careful feedings and sometimes giving him water to drink from a dropper, he pulled through. The vet told me not to expect him to live long or be very healthy. I said, yep, well he’ll fit right in with me then.
Eleven years later and Toby is as healthy as any dog we’ve had. He’s starting to get a little arthritis, his hearing is going and his face has faded from caramel to white, but he’s still the same goofy puppy I fell in love with over a decade ago.
He’s my buddy, and my most loyal friend. He’s seen me through four moves, two countries, and the birth of two babies. There isn’t a place in the world he likes more than cuddling up to me on the bed or the couch, wherever I am. Just thinking about his little paws running to meet me at the door when I come into the house makes me smile.
On Saturday I went in to the volunteer orientation session they had at the local animal shelter. I stayed after and walked a sedate, rotund Siberian-Husky-Corgi mix named Cade. He had beautiful blue eyes. Basically it was like a noble wolf gazing at me from the body of a fur-sausage. He led me out to the dog run; refused to play ball (lazy, much?) and then when he finished his business he went right to the gate to go back inside. I had to laugh – and I thought of all the older people out there who would be so happy to have a dog like this.
Anyway, apparently we’re not allowed to take them all home at once so don’t even try. But if you want a quiet older dog who’d rather share your bacon than your exercise routine, he’s at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter and he’s waiting for you to pick him up and carry him to your car. Because baby doesn’t walk more than he absolutely needs to.
The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. - Mahatma Gandhi