Goodbye, Toby – my love, my angel … my best friend

After almost thirteen years, my husband and I had to make a decision that no pet owner wants to make. At 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, my playmate, my shadow, my best friend crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

And with him went a piece of my heart and soul for him to hold onto and protect until we meet again.

He came to us on the heels of another passing.  My sweet Dalmatian, Baby, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on February 12, 2003 from a ruptured spleen. No one could have seen it coming. One minute she was here. The next, gone. She died in my husband’s arms outside the emergency vet clinic while we waited for a vet tech and a gurney to bring her inside. I wept like I hadn’t wept since my father died, and while we had other animals in the house, my soul ached with her passing.

Two months later, on April 23 (I remember the date because it was the first day of my new job), my husband surprised me with the gift of a sweet pup, an Australian Shepherd who seemed to perk up at the name Toby.

Kevin and Toby, April 27, 2003
Kevin and Toby, April 27, 2003

me and Toby April 27 2003

At the time, this little fur ball could fit through the cat doors, but this soon changed. He grew into this beautiful boy who stuck to me like glue.

Toby - cuddle time with mom Feb 3 2006

He talked to me with his eyes …

Toby talking to mommy - Jan 3 2004

Toby 100505

And could get almost anything he wanted.  I couldn’t help it. He had me wrapped around every toe. Around his heart.

Toby & Charlie 002

He loved car rides and went everywhere we went. Family was his thing. He hated to be left alone.

Toby and Charlie - St. Augustine Feb 3 2007
St. Augustine – Feb 3, 2007

toby on his way to PawFest 2014 - 4-5-14

toby at beach
Clearwater Beach

He especially loved his “brother”, Charlie, a lot

Toby & Charlie 005and taught his “sister”, Jahlee, a few things about playtime and how to sleep in the big, comfy bed with mommy and daddy

Jahlee playing with Toby 1-1-2005a      jahlee and toby in bed 10-16-13

Toby was one of a kind, and he stuck to me like glue. He was my confidant, my jester, my teacher, my soul mate, my cuddler, my angel, and a tremendous part of my heart and soul.  He lived a good life. A spoiled life. And was happy as long as he could be near (or on top of) his family.

Toby sleeping on daddy - Jan 30 2009  Toby sleeping on the coucha

He died of respiratory problems related to his congestive heart failure and class 4 heart murmur. The vet believed he also had fluid building in his lungs making it difficult for him to breathe, even with oxygen and additional medications.  As I saw him lying in the oxygen ‘cage’, I could tell my best friend was suffering. It broke my heart to see him take such a quick downward spiral, I loved him too much to see him in pain. I had to say goodbye.

I wept and held him as the tech inserted the catheter. The vet gave us a few minutes to say our farewells, and I held him in my arms as he slipped from this life and crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I couldn’t have felt more pain if someone had ripped my heart from my chest. God, how I loved love this sweet boy. I will never forget him. Ever. And while his passing is still new and raw, the wound still open, I know he’s in a much better place running around with his Charlie again. And knowing Charlie, I’m sure he was waiting by the gate and immediately introduced Toby to my beagle, Sammy, and my dalmatian, Baby, and they are romping and playing together where they never grow old and they suffer no more pain.

At the time of this post, it has been five days, almost six, since Toby left my side. To say I am still grieving would be an understatement. He took a part of me with him when he left that day, as have all of my pets. Someday, we will all be together again, and they will return those pieces to me they have been safe-keeping, and my soul will once again be whole. Until then, I will always remember their precious gifts of life and friendship.  It’s the least my mortal soul can do.

toby - regal
Toby – February 17, 2003 – January 5, 2016