A bitter date awaits

My bride and I celebrated April 1 in an odd fashion: we commemorated the birth of our puppy, Toby on that day.

He joined our family in early September 2014. We took him to the doctor to get him vaccinated, neutered … all the stuff pet parents do. The vet looked him over and calculated him to be five months of age. We backed it up five months and learned he was born in early April.

Thus, April Fool’s Day became Toby the Puppy’s birthday.

On Monday, he would be 10 years old. Except that he is no longer with us. He passed away from cancer on Dec. 1.

I had struggled mightily to keep him longer. His 12-pound body couldn’t keep up the fight. His demise ended the worst year of my life, adding a poignant symmetry to a year that began with the loss of my wife on Feb. 3, 2023, and ended with Toby’s passing away on Dec. 1.

I still struggle with Toby’s passing. I well up when I see couples walking their own dogs down my street in Princeton, Texas. I told a dear friend today that I get “jealous,” but she responded that it isn’t jealousy I am feeling, but that “You’re just missing your puppy.” I accept that definition of what happens to me.

It will take some time get over my loss of this critter who turned into the best friend and companion I ever could have imagined. We fell in love with him almost the moment we laid eyes on him in September 2014; he felt the same thing toward us, too. We took him on RV trips to all corners of this country and through the western half of Canada. Was he a road warrior? Damn right!

He made us laugh every single day he lived in our home. That is not an exaggeration! Every single day we giggled at something he did.

I wanted to get this posted today, because I’ll be on the road Monday returning from a brief visit to Amarillo … where our journey as dog parents began.

I will miss him forever … and then some.