Tag Archives: Toby the Puppy

Puppy Tales, Part 54

I am going to brag once again about Toby the Puppy. Take a look at the face in this picture. It is the face of what I believe is the smartest dog on Earth. Hands down. No question.

I make this claim acknowledging how much we also love our grandpuppy, Madden. Today, though, Toby demonstrated a sort of canine intuition I didn’t know existed.

I’ll set the stage.

We were in my study. I was typing a blog entry. Normally, we hear vehicle noise outside all the time. All day and all evening long. It’s no big deal. Toby the Puppy might hear a honking horn. He doesn’t so much as twitch.

I was awaiting my son’s arrival around noon. I didn’t say a word about that pending arrival to Toby.

Then my son arrived. He parked his car outside; it’s important to note that we could not see him from the study. Then he hit his vehicle’s automatic door-locking fob, which produced a honk from his horn.

At the sound of my son’s horn, Toby jumped straight into the air and ran to the front door. His tail was wagging furiously. He was excited to see my son, who I’ll presume he knew would be knocking on the door at that moment.

My son knocked on the door, I opened it and Toby greeted him with tail wags and licks.

This was an amazing display of intuitive skill. For the life of me I do not know how he was able to discern that the sound of that particular horn meant we were about to have company.

They all sound alike to me.

Puppy Tales, Part 53

It’s settled. Toby the Puppy has proven to me that he has deductive reasoning skills.

I’ll give you a case in point.

When my wife and I leave our new home for any length of time — and we keep the puppy at home by himself — we return and are greeted with tail wags and lots of love at the door by Toby.

He doesn’t make a sound. He just is happy to see his parents return.

Now … when we all are together — my wife, Toby the Puppy and yours truly — and someone knocks on the door, Toby goes nuts. He barks angrily with a bark that belies his diminutive size. In other words, he sounds much bigger than he is. My wife and I are grateful that he isn’t a yipper/yapper dog. He sounds tough.

My point? It is that Toby knows to bark when his mother and I are with him; when he’s alone, he presumes that we are on the other side of the door waiting to walk in.

Yes, Toby is one smart puppy. I keep telling you this. Please take my word for it. He knows many things.

Puppy Tales, Part 52

Toby the Puppy joined our family not quite four years ago.

You know how smart he is. You know how sweet he is and you know that my wife and I fell in love with him quite nearly at very first sight.

He also is a comic. He’s a comedian.

Every single day since he became a member of our family has brought laughter to my wife and me. Toby the Puppy has made us laugh every day.

He gives us a look. When he wants either of us to throw one of his toys, he stands there shooting glances at me, then my wife, then back at me, then back at my wife. Back and forth he goes. We howl in laughter.

When he wants us to toss a toy, he brings it to our feet. He then stands there, crouched low on his front legs. It’s almost as if he’s toeing the starting line at a sprint. I grab the toy, toss it and off he goes. Again … we laugh.

He is relentless. His energy is unending. His ability to make us laugh knows no bounds.

We love to laugh with him. If laughter is the best medicine, then I don’t mind overdosing with Toby the Puppy.

Happy Trails, Part 109: Learning our way around

Our retirement journey has deposited my wife and me — along with Toby the Puppy — into a new community that isn’t entirely foreign to us. It does, however, present enough of a change for us to stop and think about where we are going and, more to the point, how we intend to get there.

We now live in Fairview, Texas. Where is that? It’s a small community tucked between Allen and McKinney in Collin County about 30 miles north of Dallas. Indeed, when I say “Fairview” to our friends in Amarillo, I often get a blank look; some folks claim to know where it is. I have to take them at their word. Most folks know where Allen and McKinney are located.

I believe Fairview’s students attend school in the McKinney Independent School District, as we’ve seen MISD buses cruising up and down the street outside our new digs.

The immediate challenge is to acquaint ourselves with getting to and from certain critical destinations. They include the grocery store, the pharmacy, the home improvement store, the charitable organization where we are donating a whole lot of unwanted items in our continuing effort to downsize.

I’ll stipulate that we aren’t total strangers to our new surroundings. We have been coming here frequently for a number of years, dating back to when our son first moved to the Dallas area to attend college in the early 1990s. He graduated in late 1994 and has never looked back. He got married in 2012 and the following year our granddaughter arrived — who, of course, gave us plenty of incentive to come here frequently.

Now we’re residents. We live about 10 minutes from our granddaughter. We know the way!

Our indoctrination to life in a new community will continue over the next period of time. It took us a while to navigate around Beaumont when we moved there in 1984. Eleven years later, we had to acquaint ourselves with Amarillo. Beaumont has developed significantly since our time there, so we struggle a little when we return to visit friends; I suspect the same thing will happen over time as Amarillo continues its growth and evolution into a place that bears little resemblance to what it is today.

The learning curve, though, isn’t as steep as it was when we relocated to Beaumont and then to Amarillo.

Hey, we’re retired now. We have time to figure it out.

Puppy Tales, Part 51

Toby the Puppy always seems to attract attention among children who see him walking with my wife and/or me on his leash.

A little boy, about age 7 or so, saw Toby the other day as we were strolling through the Amarillo recreational vehicle park where we lived for a time.

“Can I pet him?” the boy asked. Sure thing. The youngster stroked the puppy’s head; Toby responded with some licks.

Then the boy asked, “What’s his favorite thing to do?” I didn’t have to think for an instant about that one. “He loves to fetch his toys,” I said. The youngster got it.

Yes, Toby is a relentless toy fetcher. His endurance is boundless. His energy knows no limit. He loves to fetch his squeaky toys. What’s more, he’s getting very good at it.

The toy squeaks when he bites down. Then he promptly returns it directly to our feet. Right there. At our feet. We need not reach too far to pick it up and toss it again.

I’ve mentioned to you already on this blog about Toby makes us laugh every single day. He’s been a member of our family for not quite four years and, yes, we have laughed with him every day since he became a part of our lives.

The fetching provides plenty of opportunity for his mother and me to laugh. I never tire of a good laugh as I watch him. He cracks me up.

Maybe, too, it’s because I want to find humor wherever it presents itself, given the depressing state of political news these days. Whatever.

I simply am grateful that Toby the Puppy is able — and so very willing — to provide it.

Puppy Tales, Part 50

I am absolutely certain that a number of you are concerned about Toby the Puppy’s adjustment to his new home.

The three of us — my wife, Toby and yours truly — have moved to Fairview, Texas. My wife and I spent more than two decades in the Texas Panhandle. Toby’s time there? All four years of his life on Earth.

How’s he doing? Better than I am, to be candid.

Our puppy is the most adaptable creature God ever produced. Nothing — not a single thing — bothers him as long as he is within earshot and eyesight of his mother and me. I kid you not!

He hasn’t lost a single night of sleep. He hasn’t missed a meal. He continues to insist we dote on him constantly, which my wife and I are more than willing, let alone able, to do.

Here might be the coolest part yet: Our move puts us closer to our granddaughter and to her puppy, a hulking black Lab named Madden — who happens to be one of Toby’s best friends.

Emma is so very loving with Toby; she’s gentle and she is acutely aware of how to approach him. As for our puppy, he loves little Emma — a lot!

And Madden, aka “Mad Dog”? Toby cannot wait to see him every time we approach our son and daughter-in-law’s house in Allen. He pulls on his leash, quick-stepping his way to the front door, as if he’s saying, “Let me at him!”

Our move now enables Toby the Puppy and his BFF, Madden/Mad Dog, to spend more quality time together running at dead sprints across Madden’s back yard.

This retirement journey on which my wife and I have launched doesn’t just involve our lives. We have Toby the Puppy to consider, too.

I am happy to report here and now that our puppy is doing just fine.

Happy Trails, Part 98

I didn’t used to get annoyed or troubled by the Texas Panhandle wind.

Instead, I would joke that the wind was beneficial in at least one critical way: It kept the bugs away. No self-respecting fly, bee, wasp, hornet or dragonfly or gnat would dare try to fly in this wind.

However, I had the luxury of making that joke while living in a structure that was attached to a concrete slab.

That changed in October when my wife, Toby the Puppy and I moved full time into our fifth wheel. We vacated our southwest Amarillo house to prepare it for sale. We got the prep done and then sold it in early March.

Hot diggedy!

The Spring of 2018 — which followed an extraordinarily dry Winter of 2017-18 — has been windier than the dickens. It’s also annoying me in a way I didn’t anticipate.

Life in the RV has been good. We’re comfortable in our 28-footer. It’s cozy. But the damn wind howls and causes us to sway in a manner that I find bothersome.

Our RV is fastened and secure. I have no concern about the 30-mph wind picking us up and flying us to, oh, Kansas. I just dislike the wind in a way that I had not during our more than 23 years living in the Texas Panhandle.

The good news? We’re close to making a move into another land-tethered structure. We’ll move about 350 miles down the road to the Metroplex. Yes, it gets windy there, too.

Not like this.

Once we’re settled into our new digs, the wind we’ve been enduring seemingly forever will make me turn to our puppy and say, “Toby, we’re not in Amarillo anymore.”

Puppy Tales, Part 49

Today is a big day in our immediate family. It’s not just because it’s Easter, the holiest day of the year for Christians. It’s because today is Toby the Puppy’s fourth birthday.

He turns 4 on this day, which we have celebrated as his birthday since the moment he joined our family.

I need to tell you that we don’t know with absolute certainty that he came into this world on April 1, 2014, but we have it on pretty good authority that this is close enough to that date to celebrate it.

That “pretty good authority” happened to be the veterinarian who examined him a few days after he showed up in our back yard.

Many of you know the story of how he arrived. Our great niece — who was spending some time with us in Amarillo — found him in an alley not far from where we lived. She eventually found Toby’s “owners” and then asked them if she could keep him; they said yes.

She didn’t tell it to us in quite that fashion when this was unfolding in real time. But that’s another story. The crux of it today is that he had found a new home and had adopted us — my wife and me — as his new parents.

We took him to the vet for his inoculations and to be neutered. Our first question to the doctor was, “How old is he?” She opened his mouth, peered inside and said, categorically, “He’s five months old.”

Well, now. That was in early September 2014; we backed it up five months and landed right on April Fool’s Day. How … about … that?

The joke was on us!

Do not misconstrue a single word here. We have been blessed by Toby’s presence every single day since the moment he arrived with our niece, which is saying quite a lot, since my wife and I have been unapologetic “cat people” for our entire life together.

The two kitties that we had at the time Toby the Puppy came along have since left us and we still mourn them. Toby, though, makes us smile — and, yes, laugh — every single day.

He has been a blast and a joy.

Happy birthday, Pup.

Puppy Tales, Part 48

Toby the Puppy’s vocabulary is growing.

Yes, he understands English. He is now forcing his mother and me to spell more words to avoid getting him too excited.

We live in an RV park on the east side of Amarillo. We have horses grazing in a pasture to our east. Our RV park is swarming with rabbits. We’ve begun seeing some cats wandering through the site and among the vehicles parked throughout.

So, rather than say the words “horse,” “bunnies,” and “kitties” when we notice them, my wife and I now must spell the words out.

Why? Because if we say, for instance, “look at the horses,” Toby’s ears perk up, he jumps on the chair at the rear of our fifth wheel and starts peering in the direction of where we have spotted our equine neighbors. Then, quite naturally, he insists on going outside. We get the same reaction from Toby whenever we mention “bunnies” or “kitties.”

The words “walk” and “treat” long ago became grist for the in-house spelling bee. If we mention either word out loud in Toby’s presence, well, you get what happens.

Here’s some other info for you to consider: When we mention our granddaughter’s name, Toby gets excited beyond all reason. “Do you want to see Emma?” we ask him as we approach where she lives in Allen. He knows Emma’s name and responds with excitement in the extreme.

What’s more, he gives the same response when we mention Madden, the large black Lab who is part of Emma’s family. When we mention Madden, or “Mad Dog” as we also call him, Toby goes ballistic, as he and Mad Dog are good buddies.

So help me, I never thought puppy parenthood could get so complicated.

It’s dark, drizzly, dreary … but our spirits shine brightly!

The temperature won’t rise much above 40 degrees Fahrenheit today.

The clouds won’t lift and the sun will set somewhere on the other side of them.

It’s been dark and drizzly all day.

And the spirits of Texas Panhandle residents haven’t been this bright and cheery since, oh, I don’t know when.

It hasn’t rained much today. I don’t know what the National Weather Service rain gauge will read at the end of the day. My wife, Toby the Puppy and I are living within spittin’ distance of the NWS station next to Rick Husband-Amarillo International Airport. That means whatever the NWS reports will mirror what we will have received at our RV park.

One of the local TV weather forecasters was described by his news anchor colleague as being “giddy” about the rain that has fallen over the region. Amarillo hasn’t yet gotten much of it; more rain is forecast during the night and again Wednesday morning and into the afternoon.

The irony is weird, man! Our spirits have soared as the sky has darkened, bringing badly needed moisture to a region that has been rain- and snow-starved during the entire winter of 2017-18.

Dare we expect to make up our precipitation deficit any time soon? Umm. No. We’ll simply accept what we get with extreme gratitude.

We’ve needed some reason to smile around here. The rain has delivered it.