People always say that dogs are a man's best friend. Well in so many ways that was true for me and Toby.
We got Toby shortly after we got married, and immediately he made me feel better. Mitchell was working nights, leaving around 12 am and not returning until 3 or 4 pm each day. I was 20 years old, living in a new neighborhood, 35 miles from my closest friend or family member. Every noise or creak made me jump. I remember calling Mitch several times, just because I was to scared to sleep. That changed when we got Toby. I know it sounds dumb since he weighed all of like 5 lbs, but just knowing I wasn't alone was huge.
He was just the cutest thing that you had ever seen and as sweet as can be. (to me at least). He was 12 weeks old when we brought him home and he grew as our marriage did. He was a very high strung dog, but I loved him SOO much! Everyone always made fun of me for how much I love him and how I treated him like a baby and not a dog, but that was fine with me.
A year and a half ago we brought home Tama. Thinking we weren't going to have kids for another year or two, (haha!) we thought that she would be a good play mate for Toby. And boy did they play! We brought home a very calm dog and she turned into a very hyper one! And surprise of surprises, Toby became the calmer one!
From the time we brought him home, he had slept in between me and Mitch at night (originally so that he couldn't jump off the bed and use the bathroom without us knowing, but it stuck). All you have to do is climb into bed, and Toby is there at the top of the bed, you pull up the covers and he goes underneath them. He curls up in a ball and goes to sleep. About 15 to 30 minutes later, with out fail, he starts scooting up the bed until his head is on the pillow and he's laying straight with his back to one of us and his paws stretched out "stabbing" the other (as Mitch likes to put it). I'm going to miss that most of all. I know it sounds stupid, but its comforting to wake up to someone on the pillow next to you, even if it can't always be your husband. Anyway, we worried (or at least I did) that Tama would get jealous, and/or want to sleep there too and quite frankly we can't fit another 50 lb dog between us in our current bed without someone hitting the floor! But it worked out because Tama likes the foot of the bed. Originally on top of the covers, but she's slowly becoming an 'under the covers' dog!
Almost a year ago, while on bedrest, my mom spent several days in a row up here at my house taking care of me. Obviously, the dogs couldn't spend the entire day in their cages, so she had to get used to them being out. Jokingly she asked "How could you love such a dumb and ugly dog?" (Because he had just done something very dumb). Normally I would just laugh off such a comment, but being pregnant and hormonal, I started crying. I said "I know you don't understand it but I really love him!" My mom came over and apologized and put into words what I never quite could. She said "I know you do honey, Toby was the only friend you had up here for a long time and I know he means a lot to you". And in that moment I got it. That was what it was. I had moved to a place where I didn't know anyone and my husband was gone 15 hours a day and sleeping 8, leaving all of one hour for me to interact with him. The rest of the time I was here alone. Toby was my friend. He let me hold him when I cried myself to sleep because Mitch was gone at work. He snuggled up with me on the couch so that I didn't feel alone while watching tv. He would walk around the kitchen (begging) while I cooked or did dishes and I talked to him like I would a person. While I have friends, I don't really have any talk to every day kind of friends because we've all gotten so busy. Toby was that for me.
Today I put him outside on the chain, like we do multiple times a day. He and Tama were playing and barking, digging and relaxing and I thought nothing of it. When I went to the door to bring them in, Toby had tangled himself up in the chain. He was gone. And while I know that he was 'just' a dog, to me he was much more than that. He was like my best friend, one who was always there for me and who loved me unconditionally. In my head I know it was an accident and it was probably going to happen regardless of my actions, but I still feel like he deserved better from me. Unlike parents, grandparents or (human) friends, I know I will never see Toby again. I know he'll never know my feelings for him because he had no soul, so even though he can't hear or know this, I will say it anyway...
I love you Toby, and I always will. You will never be forgotten and I am so sorry that this happened. I would do anything to change it. You were a wonderful dog and I will miss you dearly.