A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

June 7, 2009

A Small Dog, A Big Loss

Filed under: alpaca, Family, General — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:01 am


Our Dear Boy Toby In Full Coat

Our Dear Boy Toby In Full Coat

As with many farms our animal family is not just limited to alpacas, we have our horses, our barn cats, our house cat “Six Toes” (yes he really does have six toes on each paw) and then there are our dogs.

Dogs have been one of my loves for as long as I can remember, from our first family dog “Simba” through to our current dog family, our dogs have always made an important contribution to our lives.

On Friday night I had the sad task of saying goodbye to our darling Pomeranian Toby.  About two years ago Toby had developed acute hemolytic anemia following his annual vaccinations.  It seemed that something was not right with the vaccine as other pets seen and vaccinated by our small animal vet at the time also developed problems.  For a while it was touch and go with Toby as his body turned on itself destroying his red blood cells.  But Toby was a fighter and won that battle.  During his many blood tests (we started off with three a week and gradually worked down to one a week over a long period of time) Toby won the hearts of the staff at the vet’s office.  Whenever I had to go to the vets for something not related to Toby the office staff asked about him and some times I would take Toby with me so that they could spoil him for a few moments.

Friday morning Toby was pretty much as normal, his usual boundless energy was present as he strutted through the house wondering why on earth I had not got his dog food ready for him yet.  Throughout the day little seemed different with Toby, he even took the opportunity to escape onto our growing new back lawn when Ric went through the gate to mow it.  In true Toby style he “christened” the lawn before Ric could catch up to him.

By the time I fed Toby in the evening I knew something was wrong, he wouldn’t eat and was panting more than usual.  As the evening continued I realized that I was spending my last hours with my dearest companion.  I made him as comfortable as possible, talked to him, told him how much he was loved and stroked him.  As time went by he seemed more relaxed, so much so that it was hard to notice his final breath.

Toby was a small dog in physical stature, but a big dog in more ways than one.  He charmed everyone he met and had a generous heart, he was full of boundless energy often whirling in circles until it made you dizzy to watch him and he was permanently happy.  It was hard to have a miserable moment when Toby was around; for from the moment he entered the room he brought with him a happy, upbeat energy.

When my dear friend Linda came to visit us following the death of her husband Dick, Toby with his never ending happiness helped to put a smile on her face again.  When Ric was still in the Air Force and deployed for long periods of time Toby was always there with me, keeping me happy giving me a purpose each day – for Toby just knew that my purpose was to make sure his food bowl was filled, his need for affection was met, and that the door to the back yard was opened and shut as often as he required it to be.

Toby - the year we decided to clip of his coat.  What a cutie!

Toby - the year we decided to clip of his coat. What a cutie!

I believe I first met Toby when he was a puppy in a local pet store.  There on my lunch hour I was charmed by the black bundle of fur that demanded my attention from inside his pen on the floor.  I played with him in the pet store for as long as I could and then had to return to work.  We had our Golden Retriever Katy at that time and I wasn’t sure that Ric was too keen on getting another dog, but that little black puppy in the pet store stuck in my memory.  Several months later when Ric asked if I would like a Pomeranian I was more than willing to go and visit the prospective pup.   Toby’s owners at that time were in the Air Force; unable to keep Toby they had asked at work if anyone would like to take him.  Ric knowing he was soon to deploy to Korea for a year was worried that our aging Katy would pass away while he was gone and thought that by getting Toby I would still have a companion if something happened to Katy.

We decided to take Toby and on talking to his owners I discovered that they had purchased him from the same pet store that I had visited at about the time I had seen the black Pomeranian puppy there.  Can I say for certain it was Toby – no, but I suspect it was and that fate always meant to bring us together.

We had at least 14 good years with Toby, years of fun and laughter, years of devotion and friendship.  When our dog Sandie passed away last May Toby became even more determined to be by my side night and day.  He hated me to leave him and I sometime had to battle with him to keep him in the house as I left.  Toby was always waiting for right inside the front door when I came home.

There is a huge void now in our hearts, its hard to lose your constant companion, but we have to console ourselves with the knowledge that we were lucky enough to share our lives with one special little dog with a huge personality.  For me I was fortunate enough to have those last few hours with him, a chance to say goodbye that others don’t often have.  Toby and I had been together through good times and bad, happy and sad and we were together when he took his final breath.

We have buried Toby next to Sandie, as quirky as Sandie was Toby still adored her and I feel he felt her loss when she died.  As Toby passed on I imagined Sandie standing in front of him, her tail slowly wagging, her legs in a wide stance and a twinkle in her eye as she prepared to invite him to play as she used to when she was alive and Toby jumping up to join her, a little bundle of Pomeranian Power as he departed this world to be reunited with his dear friend.

Toby was a special dog and a good dog, who will be greatly missed by his “Toby Fan Club” and especially by his number 1 fan – me.



  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. Beautiful post.

    Comment by Susan Frank — June 7, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

  2. It’s hard to lose a companion like Toby. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys…sounds like Toby left the earth knowing he was fully loved. Very sweet story. Thanks for sharing it with us. We recently lost our black lab due to cancer…so I know how you are feeling.

    Comment by Leigh — June 9, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

    • Hello Leigh,

      Thank you for your kind words. It is hard to lose a companion like Toby. I am sorry to hear that you lost your black lab, my thoughts and prayers are sent to you too.


      Comment by alpacalady — June 10, 2009 @ 10:54 pm

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