Tag Archives: Toby the Puppy

Puppy Tales, Part 106: Phase 2 begins

Those of you who wonder about Toby the Puppy’s progress in his fight against cancer are entitled to hear the latest news.

He is doing well!

My pup has just begun the second phase of his treatment. He endured the radiation treatment. Toby’s appetite kinda/sorta went into the tank for a time after that phase of his treatment. Then it recovered. He has resumed his gluttonous eating habits, which of course pleases me to no end.

Now comes the chemo phase. The doctor’s office drew blood from my puppy this morning, then phoned me with the result. Toby’s doctor declared, “Toby is doing great.” Then she said that my puppy is “as good a candidate for chemotherapy as any patient I’ve ever had.”

She performed rectal exam and declared that his prostate “doesn’t seem as enlarged as it was before.” His cancer includes his prostate gland. I am trying to compute the 2+2 equation, and it is telling me the radiation helped control the cancer.

Now we proceed to Phase 2. Chemotherapy won’t be as frequent as radiation, but it will last bit longer.

My constant companion and best pal is a fighter. He is holding up quite well. I am grateful beyond all measure for the treatment he is getting. This has been the worst year of my life … hands down! I am harboring a measure of hope that the immediate future for my precious pup is looking a good bit brighter.

Toby has ‘issues’

More than a few readers of this blog have inquired over the years about the pooch whose face you see here. He is Toby the Puppy and he is my constant companion.

Well … I have some news to report about my Puppy. He is going to undergo aggressive treatment for cancer. That’s all the bad news I have. I have plenty of good news to report regarding my furry pal.

The illness is contained in one spot. He is showing zero signs of discomfort. Toby the Puppy continues to exhibit a voracious appetite and his thirst is virtually unquenchable … meaning that he’s drinking a lot of water.

That’s all very good news, according to the board certified veterinary oncologist who saw him today.

What’s next will be determined in the next day or two. He’s going to get a CT scan. The doc asked me to take him back to spend the day so she and her staff can collect a generous urine sample.

I want to share this news with you only because so many readers of this blog have seemingly enjoyed reading about his travels with my bride and me. We have taken him all over this great land and through half of Canada. He’s seen all of it and enjoyed along with his parents.

We, of course, lost my bride — Kathy Anne — in February. Toby the Puppy has stepped up to fulfill the role that falls on those of his species. He has become this “man’s best friend.” 

The doctor isn’t making any promises on the treatment and whether it will rid him of the disease. She is optimistic, though, that the aggressive path she intends to pursue will produce positive results. “We absolutely can control this thing,” she told my son and me today.

And I have made it abundantly clear — several times, in fact — that I want her to deploy any method she feels is possible to control it and, hopefully, to get rid of it.

Toby the Puppy is a trooper of the first order. He is my champion.


Next trek delayed

For those who have any sort of interest in my travels and my recovery from the passing of my beloved Kathy Anne, this brief blog post is for you.

I had planned on shoving off soon for points west with Toby the Puppy. That excursion has been delayed. Not by any sort of emotional meltdown on my part. No, it has to do with Toby the Puppy.

He needs a bit of medical attention. Toby has been suffering from a urinary tract infection that we cannot shake. He’s feeling fine. His appetite is good. He’s drinking lots of water. He’s full of vim and vigor.

In other words, he’s his usual hysterical self. Our veterinarian in Princeton, though, referred Toby to a diagnostic clinic in Plano. So … he checks in tomorrow for a through going-over. The clinic has the resources and the equipment required to look at him carefully.

We’re going to get to the root of this UTI, going to fix it.

Then … we’ll hit the road. That’s the latest.

Some benefit for Toby

LYNCHBURG, Va. — We came to visit Thomas Jefferson’s “getaway” house, but found a remarkable benefit for Toby the Puppy, the kind of thing I never had seen … until today.

The exhibit is called Poplar Forest, which are the grounds containing home built in 1806 by the nation’s third president. Jefferson used the place as a haven for him to collect his thoughts and to regenerate while tending to matters of statecraft while trying to improve on the still-young nation he helped create.

My friends and I pulled into the parking area, then glanced a large kennel-like structure with a doggie profile and a doggie bone on its side. We wondered, “Is that a place where we could take Toby while we walked through the Poplar Forest exhibit?”

We went to the office/gift shop and, sure enough, that is precisely what it is. The young women said we could put Toby the Puppy in there at no charge; he would have water collected in a rain barrel next to the kennel. He could relax in the shade while Daddy and his friends traipsed through the exhibit.

I know this isn’t a big deal for many folks. Except that it was 90-plus degrees, and we didn’t want to leave Toby the Puppy in a hot car, given that pets are not allowed in the buildings.

It’s the little things, the unexpected perks one sees and receives, that make certain historical exhibits even more enjoyable.


Puppy Tales, Part 104: Toby meets Vigo

CARTHAGE, N.C. — Toby the Puppy has a new best buddy, and this one is a big’n to be sure … about 90 pounds.

We ventured to the eastern coastal states of this great country to stay a few days with my cousin, who happens to be mommy to a most adorable and beautiful German shepherd mix. His name is Vigo, who’s now 11 years of age.

My cousin, a retired Army master sergeant, acquired Vigo on one of her multiple tours in the Afghan-Iraqi war zone. Vigo belonged to a family in Afghanistan; they intended to leave him behind as they were on the move. My cousin would have none of it, telling me he was “so very adorable.” She paid the shipping fee to get him from Afghanistan to the United States.

He joined her family.

Now, she had told me Vigo is quite “territorial” and was unsure how he would react to another pooch in the house. Pfffttt! No problem, man.

Vigo greeted Toby outside when we pulled up in our truck. They sniffed each other’s private parts and, voila, they became best buds for life. I have to reckon that Vigo, having lived for a brief period of his life in the middle of a war, isn’t going to be bothered by the presence of a pooch a tenth of his size.

Toby the Puppy has spent plenty of time indoors while my cousin, her two sons, her boyfriend and his daughter and I have visited. Not a hint of trouble. No tension. No jealousy. No growling. No snapping.


And so … we’ll continue our visit without ever worrying about how well Toby and Vigo will get along. I am proud of my puppy — and of Vigo — to report that they are doing quite nicely.


Flaps up … almost!

Today has been a day of preparation for my latest trek away from the North Texas house I once shared with my bride.

This one takes Toby the Puppy and me eastward, to North Carolina and Virginia. My pre-launch prep has been more studied and careful since my previous one that occurred this past spring.

You see, Kathy Anne was the master trip planner. Indeed, she brought many skills to our 51 years of marriage and I learned on my journey out west that I had forgotten to take a few items with me. So … I had to purchase ’em on the run. I am certain KA was laughing out loud at me.

Not this time, folks. My approach to preparing for this journey has been measured, meticulous and so very thorough that I am afraid I might be taking more than I need.

Nahh … whatever.

The aim this time is the same as the previous trip. I just need to get away to clear my noggin. However, this trip will be different in one key regard. When I return home in a couple of weeks, I’ll have someone here to greet me. My son and his two cats — Marlowe and Macy — are living with Toby the Puppy and me for the time being. He is embarking on a drastically different career path from the one he left after nearly 25 years — and I will be anxious to hear how it is going when I get home.

Moreover, I will be glad to return to a house with a bit of noise in it instead of one that is silent … if you know what I mean.

I am happy to report that my journey through the sadness that occasionally overtakes me is getting a little easier each day. As family members and friends have told me repeatedly, all I can do is take each step daily. I am heeding their advice.

Meantime, the open road awaits.


Another journey looms

Not many days from now, I am going to jump into my Ranger pickup with Toby the Puppy and head east.

The trek will take us to North Carolina and Virginia before we start the return to the house in North Texas. The goal for this journey is the same as it was for the month-long trip I took to the other coast. This one won’t last as long.

I’ve budgeted two weeks for this one, but the aim is the same: to clear my head and seek to mend my heart, which was shattered into a zillion pieces with the passing of my bride on Feb. 3.  Kathy Anne lost a fierce, but brief, fight with cancer.

But … you know about that.

I am not yet sure if I will require any more of these kinds of mind-clearing, heart-mending getaways. I can report some progress in this journey I have taken since I lost the love of my life.

For instance, I can think of Kathy Anne without bawling — although not always. The emotions run amok, though, when I talk about her with friends and family. My sons, my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter are struggling in their own ways with the loss they suffered. I have sought to let them all know that I am here for them if they need special support … except that among all of us, I believe I am the most emotionally tender.

Well, the journey will continue for all of us who loved Kathy Anne.

I have all but declared my heart will be damaged permanently. I am just seeking ways to cope with the pain that I am certain will flare on occasion. Getting behind the wheel of my pickup — with Toby the Puppy riding shotgun — is sure to offer plenty of comfort.


Kitties’ roles have switched

I reported to you on May 16 about one of two cats that have moved into my home with my son, who relocated from Amarillo to Princeton.

The kitty to whom I referred was Macy, the female feline who moved in with her brother, Marlowe. I had noted that Macy was coming out of her proverbial shell and that Marlowe remained a work in progress.

I am able to report that Marlowe has acclimated himself fully to life in North Texas.

Kitty is finding her way – High Plains Blogger (wordpress.com)

Not only that, but my two grandkitties have all but reversed roles. It is Marlowe, a monstrous male who probably outweighs Toby the Puppy — the acknowledged King of Our House — by 10 pounds, who has become the Alpha Kitty.

I must report, though, that Marlowe recently reached beyond his grasp. Toby was eating his dinner one afternoon when Marlowe decided to stick his head into Toby’s bowl — while the Puppy was eating. That was a very bad call! Toby snapped, growled and made noises I had never heard from him as he chased Marlowe away from his chow. Lesson learned.

Marlowe simply will not leave me alone at night. I try to grab a few winks during the night, but Marlowe will have none of it. He licks, nuzzles and gets his face right in front of mine just to make sure I can hear his purring, which I can hear across any room in the house.

My only remedy is to close the bedroom door, which I do when Toby is sleeping with me. If Toby the Puppy decides he prefers his kennel over the bed, well … that’s where he goes.

In Toby’s absence, I get Marlowe.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the kitties. I love having them around. They are sweet and they are lovable.

They’re part of the family.


Puppy Tales, Part 103: I’m his BFF!

Toby the Puppy this afternoon demonstrated his role as the top BFF in my new world.

I had been away for a couple of days, driving to the Texas Panhandle to see a few friends and to, well, just get out of the house. I was on my own — as in completely alone — for the first time in as long as I can remember.

I walked into the door of my home in Princeton and there he was … doing something quite rare in greeting me. He was making sounds — as in little yips of joy! He doesn’t usually make those noises.

The last time I heard him do it was when my bride and I returned home from a two-week trip to Germany and The Netherlands in 2016. We had placed Toby the Puppy in a doggie spa/veterinary clinic. We walked into the office to pick him up; the vet tech fetched him; Toby then glanced at us and leaped from the tech’s arms into his Mommy’s arms … yipping joyfully the whole time.

I got the same treatment, more or less, from him today.

He welcomed me home with plenty of licks and a whole lot of love and attention.

Ahh, yes, it is so good to be home.


Traveling alone, as in … alone!

AMARILLO, Texas — It took me a few hours today to realize what was different about this brief excursion from my North Texas home to points northwest on the Texas Caprock.

I was alone in the pickup. By that I mean I was totally alone.

Now, you know that my dear bride, Kathy Anne, is gone. It’s obvious to you that she is unable to accompany me alongside in her customary place in the vehicle we own.

What isn’t obvious is that Toby the Puppy didn’t make this trip. He stayed home to keep my son and his two kitties, Macy and Marlowe, company.

I ventured back to the High Plains to see a few friends. Not many of them, mind you, because I’m here only for a couple of days before I head back to the house in Princeton.

But damn! Not having my puppy with me is seriously strange, man. I talk to him while we motor along the highway. He doesn’t talk back, obviously. He does respond with a tail wag and a lick. He will let me know if he has to relieve himself along the way; he gives me the doe-eyed stare and he might start to paw my arm, as if to say, “Dad, uhhh, it’s time to pull over.”

But for the first time in, oh, a very long time I have no traveling companion to share a laugh or to say, “I love you.” Yes, I tell Toby the Puppy that I love him all the time, just as I told Kathy Anne that very truth for more than 50 years.

She would say she loved me, too. Toby the Puppy? He expresses his love differently, but I know it when he tells me.

I’m glad I’ll be away only for two nights. Then I head home. The next sojourn commences in a couple of weeks; it will take me east to North Carolina and Virginia and points between here and there.

Toby the Puppy will be with me for every mile of that trek.