What you see in this picture are Toby the Puppy — he’s the one in the Superman shirt — and his newest best friend, Dolly.
I want to highlight this new friendship to illustrate how sociable Toby the Puppy can be, and how others of his, um, species relate to his sociability.
Dolly is a member of the Ed and Colleen Loos family in their home in the Phoenix, Ariz., suburbs. We visited the family and got acquainted immediately with Dolly, who took a few moments to, shall we say, sniff her way into Puppy’s good graces.
She nipped at him a couple of times as Toby got a little too familiar. But then? It was all good.
The two of them pranced around the house together. One would follow the other one. They chased each other around the back yard. They shared water bowls, Dolly even let Toby the Puppy eat some of her food.
We never worry about Toby the Puppy’s interaction with others of his type. He is among the most sociable beings we’ve ever encountered.
The best news is that he found another pooch who shares his desire to get acquainted.
The picture you see here is of Toby the Puppy when he joined our family in early September 2014.
He is five months of age in this photograph. We took him to the veterinarian almost the moment we decided he would join us; the vet took one quick look in his mouth and without blinking or pausing for even a second told us “five months old.”
There you have it.
Eight years later I am thrilled to tell everyone who reads this blog that Toby the Puppy continues to make us laugh every … single … day.
I have boasted incessantly on this platform and when we meet people with Toby the Puppy in our presence that he is the perfect addition to our family. Jeez, I have trouble even referring to him as a “pet.” He is much more than that.
He joined us when we had two cats, siblings Socks and Mittens. They have since left us and we miss them terribly. Toby, though, has managed to more than fill the void left by our kitties’ departure.
He is a road warrior who loves to travel with us. Our granddaughter, who’s now 9 years old, fell in love with him when she was a toddler and has treated him ever since with tender, loving kindness … which he clearly appreciates. Indeed, he gives her much love in return.
We love this puppy to the stars in the sky … and back again.
Normally, when I offer a Puppy Tales installment it is to brag about something new in Toby the Puppy’s life, a revelation that he delivers to us, a new example of just how smart and adorable he is.
Not this time. Instead, I am offering this brief salute to Toby the Puppy by commemorating an event that is fast approaching: the eighth anniversary of the moment he joined our family.
I won’t belabor the details of the event itself. I do want to salute Toby the Puppy for being just about the perfect addition to our family.
He’s now eight years of age. He was five months old when he came home with our great niece in early September 2014.
Toby the Puppy has been, to put it as clearly as I can, a total riot ever since. He has brought us great joy through the love he displays to my wife and me every … single … day. He quite literally jumps for joy when we mention our granddaughter’s name in his presence. We tell him Emma is coming over and he can hardly restrain himself.
Our puppy has been the most joyful addition to our clan than I can even imagine.
Puppy tales, Part 3 | High Plains Blogger
I just wanted to share the good news with those of you who have told me that you enjoy hearing about his exploits.
The even better news is that Toby the Puppy is at the tippy-top of his game.
Toby the Puppy’s body-language “vocabulary” is expanding. I want to report briefly on a way he communicates to his Mommy and me and how we learned quickly to understand the message he was delivering.
When we want to take him for one of his twice-daily walks — yes, we’re on a schedule to take him twice each day through the neighborhood — we know he is ready to go … when we ask if he’s “ready” and he grabs the nearest toy and shakes it vigorously.
There you go. He tells us he’s good to go for a walk by grabbing a toy — preferably a squeaker, of which he has plenty laying around the house — and biting it so it makes noise and then shaking the daylights out of it.
It’s a fairly remarkable way of communicating, if you want my humble opinion on it. Well, whether you want my opinion or not, you have it. So there.
It’s just one more aspect of puppy parenthood that has made my bride and me laugh every single day since Toby the Puppy came into our lives.
As smart as I have proclaimed Toby the Puppy to be, I concede readily that he doesn’t speak English. That is, he doesn’t communicate with my wife and me in the language that we both speak.
That does not mean that our puppy doesn’t communicate. I have recently concluded that after nearly eight years in our family, he has a way of telling us certain things.
One thing in particular is how he tells us we must get up to let him go into the backyard to relieve himself. How does he do that? By shaking. It usually occurs in the middle of the night.
Toby the Puppy usually sleeps with us at night. When he awakens, he is likely to jump from the bed and then shake the way pooches shake. If we don’t move, he shakes again. He will do so a third time if neither of us still doesn’t get out of bed to take him out.
Do you get it? He knows how to awaken us. He won’t make a sound with his mouth. He just shakes, which creates enough of a noise to awaken us … eventually.
Toby the Puppy remains an amazing family member. He is about to turn 8. We love him dearly. We tell him he’s the “best puppy in the whole world.” He believes it.
He also demonstrates it by refraining from barking in that loud bark of his in the wee hours of the morning. If he has to go outside to take care of business, he just shakes.
His parents — my wife and me — get the message … and we comply.
I don’t write often these days about my blog, which I named High Plains Blogger when I set it up more than a decade ago. I’ll take a brief leap into self-congratulations.
My blog is in the midst of another pretty healthy streak. I have gone 141 consecutive days posting items about this and that. It’s mostly political, but I have branched out to talk about sports on occasion, about my retired (or shall I say semi-retired) life and also about my beloved family.
Oh, and then there’s Toby the Puppy, the pooch who makes my wife and me laugh every single day.
A few of my friends have said they “marvel” at the prolific nature of this blog. A couple of them are bloggers themselves. I admire their work, as it is generally a lot more thoughtful than my own submissions. I haven’t told them as much; I will make sure I do so in short order.
But my blog is part of who I am. I have been writing on High Plains Blogger since before I left my daily print journalism career in August 2012.
I will acknowledge that the current streak isn’t as long as a previous streak that got curtailed after more than 350 straight days by a technical glitch. I missed a day — or maybe it was two of them. I’m back at it now.
I intend to keep doing this for as long as I can string sentences together. It is a lead-pipe cinch I won’t run out of topics on which to comment.
Let the topics keep offering themselves to me. I am standing by.
It’s been far too long since I have bragged about Toby the Puppy.
So … here comes another tidbit about our smart puppy. He has learned to virtually dress himself. Yep, that’s right. Here’s what I mean.
We like putting shirts and/or sweaters on him during these cold snaps. His fur is light and he is a bit prone to the shivers when the temperature drops too significantly.
What do we do? We fetch his sweater, slip it over his head and one front leg at a time, he lifts the leg so we can slip it through the opening in his garment; we do the same thing with the other front leg.
There you go.
It wasn’t all that long ago that we had to struggle to get Toby to cooperate with us as we sought to keep him warm from the cold weather. Those of us who have raised children know what I’m talking about. If a kid doesn’t want to wear something, it’s a serious chore getting him or her to comply. Same can be said about puppies.
Toby the Puppy was one of those problem “children.” Until now.
We are getting close to taking our final RV trip of the year. We won’t go far from the house, only about 50 miles to a state park at Lake Tawakoni.
We’ll bring it home and then winterize it, send it into hibernation.
I just wanted to salute the most notable road warrior in our family. That would be Toby the Puppy.
I hear occasionally from friends and some family members about their pooches getting “car sick.” Toby the Puppy? Hah! He is happy to ride anywhere, at anytime, for any length of time, any distance. No matter what!
Toby has a iron constitution as well. He will let us know he has to relieve himself. How does he do that? By getting out of bed, jumping into the lap of the person in the passenger’s seat in the truck and scratching at our arm. Then we know. Time to stop.
Mostly, though, he just snoozes between us.
I want to offer this good word for all you potential pooch parents who might worry about how your puppy travels, whether he or she gets motion sickness while riding in your vehicle. I am proud to say that Toby the Puppy, the pooch we proclaim to be the No. 1 puppy of all time, is the ultimate road warrior.
Yours can fit that description too.
By John Kanelis / email@example.com
Toby the Puppy cannot speak English, at least as I understand the language. He does, however, “speak” in a unique way that I have learned to comprehend.
He answers “yes” to questions by doing something in the moment that he does not do any other time.
“Are you hungry?” I might ask. “Do you want to go for a walk?” “Do you want to ride in the truck?” “Do you want to go see Emma?”
If the answer is “yes” to any or all of those queries — which almost always is the case — he responds by grabbing one his many chew toys that he has thrown around every room in our house.
He then shakes the toy. He throws it in the air. He growls at whatever toy he grabs. He might even bark at it.
That is how Toby the Puppy communicates his agreement with whatever question my bride and I would pose to him.
Oh, how do I know when he says “no”? No sweat. He doesn’t do anything. He might offer us a hang-dog look. What question produces something akin to a negative response? “Do you want to take bath?” He doesn’t fight the bath, but clearly it isn’t among his favorite things to do.
He joined our family more than seven years ago. We learn more about him almost daily. I am quite certain Toby the Puppy has his Mommy and me figured out.
By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Toby the Puppy is going to celebrate a birthday. He turns 7 years of age, which means — and this is my fervent hope — that we’ll enjoy his company for a whole lot longer.
We celebrate his birthday on April Fool’s Day.
He joined our family over the Labor Day Weekend of 2014. Our niece was visiting us from the Pacific Northwest. She found him curled up in an alley near our home in Amarillo. He was scared, she said, so he followed her back to our home.
We had intended to take him to an SPCA shelter, but they were closed that weekend. Well, the rest became history in a hurry. He grabbed our hearts, held them close his own in that way that puppies are able to do. We were hooked.
So, after deciding he would join our family, we took Toby to the doctor’s office for his vaccinations, to get an electronic chip installed in his shoulder, to get him — ummm — neutered. First question we asked of the veterinarian: How old is he?
I’ll never forget what she did and said. She looked into his mouth and without flinching she said, “He’s 5 months old.” Period. Full stop. Yada, yada …
That was in early September. We backed up our calendar for five months and discovered — lo and behold! — that five months earlier put his estimated date of birth in early April.
There you have it. The “joke” was on my bride and me. Toby the Puppy had a new home. We had a new member of our family. He has been an utter joy since that day when our niece found him in that alley.
He will have a wonderful birthday.