He died peacefully cradled in my arms, the last sound he heard being my voice speaking to him softly: “It’s okay, buddy, it’s okay…” We had been inseparable for almost 20 years and in those years experienced a lifetime together.
I picked out a star the evening O’Henry crossed on December 7, 2011. Each night I step out on the porch to say goodnight to him. I still can’t do it without tears. Of course, sometimes the stars are not visible but I know “he is always there” just as I never had to turn around when he was alive, I just knew he was right behind me. I miss you sweet boy.
Grief. One small word, one short syllable. Unfortunately, there’s nothing small or short about it. When it hits you, it’s the 18-wheeler you didn’t see coming in your blind spot that slams you so hard, you’re careened off your path before you even have a chance to comprehend what happened.
Grieving. Grieving heavily. It was Annie. Annie who has been with me through it all, quiet, loving, never complaining, always in the background as if to say, “I’m here if you need me but I’ll just let you get through it until you do.” Annie, who let me use her for a pillow, drape my legs over her to take a nap, who stepped aside when Boone came in and just let him be the number one dog, knowing that she would just BE THERE hanging out waiting for when I needed her. Annie, who let me cry into her fur and hold her and just sat patiently while I did.
Toby, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, lived life big and left paw prints on hearts around the world. He was also the star of the book On Toby’s Terms and Toby the Pet Therapy Dog. This video capture’s some of his finest moments—loving life!