My Life in Words

Toby the Blind Pug

A Little About Toby

In April, 2005 I sent an adoption application to the Central PA Pug Rescue, near where I was living at the time. A few days later, much to my surprise, I recieved a response from them. They had a dog there that had been named Tony by his original owners but was now being called Tank, a name that fit him well - at the time he weighed 28 pounds. It seemed that Tony/Tank had just been through a very difficult period in his life. First he had gone blind. Then when the other dogs in his original home started to pick on him, his family took him to see a number of specialists all over the state. When it was finally determined that nothing could be done to correct his vision, his family promptly dropped him at a near-by shelter. He was very upset and the shelter called the Pug Rescue people right away. He was fostered in a nice home for about four weeks, at which time the foster family was given my application.

I first met Tank (as he was then known on all the paper-work) in late April and I was immediately struck by how big he was. Pugs are not usually what one would call "massive," but I knew right away where he had gained his name. He seemed to do very well in my appartment and he was very friendly and affectionate, so we started moving towards the official adoption. It wasn't more than a few days until everything had been taken care of and he and I were settling in and adjusting to each other.

I decided right off that some changes had to be made for this dog to be happier. The first thing I changed was his name (granted, I don't think he really cares what it is, but it was more to make me happier). I decided on Toby because it was similar to his original name, but different enough to signify a break with his old life. A friend of mine decided to give him the title "Tobias Rex," and it just kind of stuck. He also needed to lose a couple pounds, at least, as all that weight is a strain on a heart that small. So we changed his diet, and started doing some exercising. He started to show improvement very quickly.

As he has grew more and more used to me his true personality really started to come out. He was truly a good-natured dog, greatful for any affection, and a dedicated companion. He seemed very happy with his new life and I intended to keep it that way.

As I slowly came to the decision thatthat my time in Harrisburg was coming to a close, though, it became clear that Toby's life was in for another dramatic shift. After I moved home, indeed, both of our lives made a major shift. I began what would become two years of nearly constant 12- to 14-hour days and Toby became much closer to my mother than to me. A function of the hand that fed him I suppose, but disappointing to me nonetheless.

As he finally began to settle into his new surroundings, we were surprised to find that some of his true traits were something less than endearing. He became excedingly demanding and developed some of the most severe seperation anxiety I've ever seen. I'm sure it had a great deal to do with not being able to see, but it still seemed extreme. Every day became a struggle and often we had to plan our entire day's schedule so that he was alone for as little time as possible, lest someone have to clean up a large mess several times daily.

Even that, though, we got used to and even came to accept as part of adopting a special needs dog. It came as a shock to us then, when in the early summer of 2007, he developed a sever liver condition which, although never exactly diagnosed, was likely cancer. His health declined steadily, though he lasted for much of the summer. But on August 1, 2007, almost exactly two years to the day since he and I had moved home, Toby died in the vet's office. He was only 8 years old.

Though he was only with us a short period of time, I am proud to have given Toby a comfortable home and a loving family so that he could live out the final years of his life in relative happiness. We like to think that, wherever he is, even if he hasn't regained his sight, at least the walls are nice and soft.

Toby's Photo Galleries

Gallery 1 - 5/1/05 thru 7/30/05 Gallery 2 - 8/1/05 thru 12/31/06
Gallery 3 - 1/1/07 thru 8/1/07  



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