Fair warning, if you do not care for mushy pet stories, move on.  This is a tribute to one of the best companion dogs I have ever known.  So I will be taking a few lines here to tell it like is was.

It is said that a dog is man’s best friend.  Well there is no doubt about it they can be great companions for sure.  We were lucky to have known one of the best.

Toby – 2003 (Best guess) – 10/27/2014



Well he was for sure without any doubt a special being.  We adopted each other back at a time when our lives were centered around nautical adventures on the upper Mississippi.  The ‘rule’ on my vessel was NO DOGS ALLOWED, but that changed when we brought the big guy home from the rescue shelter.  It had been three days and we sure did not want to leave him home for a pet sitter to check in on him twice a day while we were out on the boat.  Taking him to a kennel and drop him off so early in our relationship, not a good option either.  So what were we to do?  Rules are made to be broken, we took him to the boat.

The BIG and the LITTLE WHO’s


The above picture was well after Toby had become accustomed to being a ‘Sea Dog’.  He always loved our time out on the boat and the island.  Same for Pots.  In fact there was not much they both did not like about just being part of the party no matter what or where the party was.

When we brought him home it became obvious very quickly that we had a special kind of dog we were dealing with.  The training lead we used on the two acres was 20’ long and we had a lot of trees.  It was amazing, I can not remember a single instance when he did not with obvious deliberation, navigate to the side of a tree that would avoid getting him encumbered by the tree.

Soon we were off leash and he was always a great pleasure to work with.

Tennis balls were always a favoriteimage.png

Both training and play came easy for the big guy.  One of his all time fun things to do was hide and seek.  We would take a toy, hide it, and he would start hunting.  He was always obviously thrilled when he found where we had hidden his treasure.

When Potsy passed away, we were in a Wal-Mart and saw a toy we thought would hold up to Toby’s vigorous play, the Dopy Duck.  It did for about 6 months.  When he figured out how to dismantle it the destruction was quick.  We got a second one thinking it would last another 6 months, two days later he was carrying around just it’s innards, string was everywhere.

Toby with his possessions gatheredimage.png

Yep, he was very cognitive for sure.  He would stand in the middle of the floor and bark, he had a variety of tones.  Sometimes he wanted food, imagine that!  Other times it was him wanting to go for a walk, and a lot of those times it WAS JUST a walk he wanted!  Other times he insisted relentlessly that it was time to get on the floor and let him lay on your lap, Rhonda was always ready to accommodate.

After a walk in the rain


Bath time was never a good way to start the day


Now he did seem to really enjoy the boating days, time on the boat and the island but NOT the water.  He was no water dog for sure.  That disdain extended to the hose as well, bath time was definitely not one of his favored activities.  He was always intent on shaking at just the ‘right’ time so everyone was able to partake.

So Mr. Big, we were really blessed to have known you.  Some folks who did not know you so well were not so sure of your intentions, but we knew.  You never wanted anything except to be part of it, get someone to scratch your big head and make a new friend.  I’m so glad you hung around and hit the road with us and wish you could have continued the journey.

Back seat navigator


But that is not the way things worked out.  The time came when you had to leave.  I will miss you in a huge way buddy.

RIP my friend