STORIES ABOUT MY DOG TOBY
In December of 2007, as part of my Christmas letter to family and friends, I included the following paragraph about my dog Toby:
My Golden Retriever named Toby has become a central figure in my life. He has become my true and faithful companion. He's such a good dog!! Not that he’s completely perfect. At almost 4 years old, he’s been around humans enough to have developed some human-type deviousness. One example has to do with earning treats for being a good dog. When he was a puppy, and being house-trained, I would reward him with a doggy-treat each time he was a good dog and did his business outside in the yard. I still carry treats in my pocket for rewarding him like this, even though he is completely house-broken. Two or three times a day, Toby and I will go out in the back yard, and I will spend some quiet time in my chair on the patio, while Toby patrols the back yard, sniffing everything worth sniffing. When he pauses for a moment to poop or pee (pardon the vulgarity), he will immediately turn around and head for me with a meaningful trot, licking his lips because he knows he will get a treat out of my hand. Now comes the devious part. After he gets his treat, he will resume his patrol of the yard, and then very often will disappear out of sight into a corner of the yard where I can’t see him; and, right after this, he will reappear, heading for me with that meaningful trot and licking his lips and nuzzling my hand for another treat -- even though he didn’t do a thing while out of sight (I know, because I have peeked on him). Nevertheless, I give him the second treat (as a reward for resourcefulness).
In December of 2008, as part of my Christmas letter to family and friends, I included the following paragraph about my dog Toby:
My Golden Retriever named Toby has become a central figure in my life. He has become my true and faithful companion. He's such a good dog!! At almost 5 years old, he has become known as a downright party-loving dog. When company comes over, he is at his irrepressible best, going down the line of guests, standing on his hind legs to bring his head up high enough to gleefully lick everybody’s face. Probably not all the guests are that pleased, especially if he gets to them with just-back-from-the-cleaners party outfits on, just after he comes in from a swim in the pool or a romp in the muddy flower garden. To some people, dogs are supposed to stay down, but somehow or other we missed the day at Puppy Training School when that lesson was supposed to have been taught.
In December of 2009, as part of my Christmas letter to family and friends, I included the following paragraph about my dog Toby:
My Golden Retriever named Toby has become a central figure in my life. He has become my true and faithful companion. He's such a good dog!! Not that he doesn’t have his idiosyncrasies. For example: On the days when I go to the Office or the Museum, I take him to a Doggie Day Care center, and to get him there I have always had to lift all 80 pounds of him into the rear end of my SUV. (I have a nice specially-designed doggy ramp for him, but he has always refused to use it.) However, in October I had a hernia operation, and the doctor was pretty explicit in letting me know that I should not be lifting Toby into the car any more--at least for a while. This left me without any way of getting him to the Doggy Day Care center, and therefore on those days I have been leaving him home alone for the whole day, with me making the 20 mile round trip from Office to home at lunch time to take care of his needs. This was getting to be pretty old, so recently on a Saturday morning grandson Chase and I spent a whole hour in the driveway with Toby, trying to train him to run up the ramp--but to no avail. He would just stand with his front paws on the bottom of the ramp and shiver, because he was afraid he wouldn’t make it up there. Even when we put his breakfast bowl up in the rear area as an enticement, he wouldn’t budge. But the breakthrough finally came when we discovered the missing element -- namely, momentum. We took him on his leash down to the bottom of the driveway and then ran with him so that he hit the bottom of the ramp going full speed, and he sailed right up without a hitch. It has worked every time since, and my life is back to normal. Toby, like a lot of human beings, has discovered the importance of momentum.