The day I got Toby I was probably the happiest little girl on the planet. My long lasting wish had finally come true. We were driving home with a little puppy in my lap. He was so cute with his giant paws, big wet muzzle, and long curly ears. At that time I thought I knew everything there was to know about dogs. Well… he proved me wrong the first day. Suddenly I realized that no matter how many books you read – nothing can prepare you for the great inventions of a setter puppy. And living with him never got any easier. One of the first things he learned was to open everything that can be open in our house. No room, closet or drawer is safe when he is home alone.
He is a professional thief. He manages to steal food from a fully laden table without moving a single thing, or making the slightest noise. Besides food, his favorite targets are my personal items, most likely underwear or jewelry. Sometimes he feels a huge desire to decorate the house with a sophisticated arrangement of trash, of course stolen from our trash bin.
Outside he just loves to run. He doesn’t care if he is running alone, chasing someone or being chased. He is still as playful as he was the first day I got him. People cannot believe how old he is.
Training him was a lot of hard work. We went through puppy classes and basic obedience training struggling with each other. Forcing him to do anything was never an option, so I was constantly thinking of ways to get him to want to do things with me. Our school days can be described as “blood, sweat and tears”, but somehow we finished with the B exam in my pocket. After that I was looking for a sport that would suit both of us. Agility seemed to be just the right one. We had our share of fun, but since there is only one right direction of running, I enjoyed it much more than Toby. So after I got my new agility companion I let him do only what he likes most: being the house clown and my jogging partner.
I don’t think I will ever have to work that hard to get such a pure result with any dog, but I also don’t think I will ever feel as happy as I did when we passed our exam, or had a clean run. He was my loyal friend during my moody teens, and the one who taught me never to give up. He is contagiously goofy and never serious. He is the one and only, my Toby. My dear goofy Toby died suddenly from cancer in the end of April 2012…