View Full Version : Toby Alexander, 10/8/1990 - 8/1/2006

31st August 2006, 03:13 AM
Toby came to us in November 1998. He was eight years old at the time. His notice on the “Hearts United for Animals” rescue site had a plaintive tag....”Toby has lost his person.” Who could resist that? We surely couldn’t . With some help from the CKCSC people we were able to have our references checked and a home visit done. He arrived dirty, fat and wagging his tail after a many hour trip by plane.

We were surprised by many things at that first sight. One he WAS heavy (we later weighed him in at 26 pounds) and his tail was this little short stub. We never did find out what happened to it. But from the moment he entered our lives, he was a joy. He joined a household of two other cavaliers, Gizmo (almost two years old) and Gadget (a little over six months).

When we first got him we had the mindset that we were giving him a good last year or two in his life. Because of some confusion in his paperwork we thought he was 10 years old. When his documents arrived, we realized that he was only eight. But we still thought we would only have him for a few years. We have cavaliers and we know what their health problems can be.

He had a great cavalier temperament. He was always happy to see people and other dogs (except those pesky little puppies he occasionally ran into). Had we had him when he was younger he would have made a great therapy dog. But his most enduring (and not necessarily endearing) trait was how clever he was when it came to searching out food.

As much as we tried to keep it at bay, age finally caught up with Toby. He had been declining for awhile but it was all still manageable. During the month of July 2006, the rate of decline accelerated and by the last week of July we realized it was time.

Toby was completely deaf and almost completely blind. He no longer greeted us when we got home. His tail no longer wagged except very weakly when he was served his meals or got treats. He really couldn’t walk anymore and when he did, he turned in circles. Deciding to euthanize him was very difficult. At the end of the month there were several mornings where I woke up hoping that he had died in his sleep. But this didn’t happen.

Toby left us on the afternoon of August 1, 2006. It was time. We are very sad.

p.s. I wrote this the day Toby died. And four weeks later, I'm still sad.

Cathy T
31st August 2006, 03:31 AM
What a wonderful gift you received from this fantastic little guy. I can tell how much he touched your heart. I can only imagine the heartache you went through having to let him go. But it sounds like it was his time. What an incredibly beautiful old fella he was. Thanks for sharing his inspiring story.

31st August 2006, 10:50 AM
What an absolutely beautiful guy Toby was. Thank you for sharing his story. It is so very hard to let them go but what a gift you gave Toby....a lot of good years in a really good home and then loving him enough to let him go when it was time. Bless you for loving Toby so much. Hoping one day the pain will lessen and you will remember with more smiles then tears.

31st August 2006, 02:35 PM
He was so lucky to have found you, as you were to find him. What a gift is right. :flwr:

31st August 2006, 10:39 PM
Oh Margaret, what a lovely but sad story. You most certainly did the right thing for your darling boy. How lucky you were to have him in your lives for so long too.

He really was a darlingly handsome boy in his photo's too, may his memory live on and his spirit walk with you forever.

Run free at the Bridge with those bunnies, Toby xxxxx

1st September 2006, 08:32 AM

Thank you so much for sharing your lovely story about Toby, what a lovely boy, now for sure an angel at the bridge.

Thinking about you Margaret, take care. :flwr:

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

2nd September 2006, 02:00 AM
Thank you all for your kind comments about Toby. It is a month today that he died and frankly I'm surprised how much I still miss him. It's the little things...like dinner time and bed time routines where I catch myself thinking, "Oh, I must do this for him." I know it will get better but it is still hard.

Again, I appreciate all the comments.


2nd September 2006, 08:14 AM

It was two months ago that I lost Honey-Bee...it still really hurts...even with a multiple dog home you still have that "void" and an ache in your heart for them.

Lets hope time heals. :flwr:

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

3rd September 2006, 04:19 AM
How lucky sweet Toby was to find such a wonderful home and loving family. Making the decision to let them go is probably one of the hardest in life, and I know how much you ache. We went through this last October and it is still hard at times. Hang in there, it does get easier with time!

Riley and Fletcher send you and your pups lots of kisses!!!! :hug:

3rd September 2006, 11:34 AM
His face is absolutely precious -- what a beautiful old gentleman and I can only hope I get to have my cavaliers for so long a time! What a wonderful age. He clearly was very happy in your home.

I think the people who give a dignified and cheerful home to older dogs and relish the rewards they bring are real treasures. Working in rescue I talk to people who want to rehome their middle aged or older cavaliers, their companions of so many years, for reasons such as 'he guards his food from my new dogs' and 'we are re-doing the garden and it won't be ready for a year so it's better for someone else to take him' and 'we are expecting a baby and we'll be too busy to look after the dog'. :( It really gladdens my heart to know of cavaliers like Toby who were so welcomed as seniors and then went on to bring so many cherished years of pleasure to their new owners. His story is a real inspiration and it is people like you who make rescue especially rewarding because the older dogs, so full of character, are so often overlooked.

A loss of a companion that was so much a part of your daily life and routine is especially hard and it is completely natural to miss Toby. With time the sharpness of the loss moves towards warm memories but the ones that are really special will always cause a little tug at the heart when we think about them, I think.

3rd September 2006, 10:09 PM
Thank you so much for sharing Toby's story with us...what a very special, handsome and precious boy.

I'm so sorry he has now left you for the Bridge...but think of him happy, whole and pain free, adn running and playing with all our Angels.

He was lucky to have found such a wonderful home and to share so many happy loving years with you. You were very brave to let him go, such a terrible decision but the most loving thing we can do in the end.

The raw pain does ease, in time you will be able to look back and remember the happy times - he would not want you to be sad, but to remember him with love.

Thinking of you - and again thank you, my "oldie", Rupert, is 10 - every day is so very special and precious, and I cuddle all of mine and tell them how much I love them every day.

4th September 2006, 06:49 AM
What a touching story. It's so wonderfull that he had so many good years with you.
Some peopel say that the time cures all cuts. But I say that he can onley put on a band-aid. We will allways remember our four legged friends whitch has pasted away, and we will allways miss them. But I just look forward to see my lil friends when my time comes.

Rest In Peace, Toby

4th September 2006, 11:22 AM
I couldn't agree more with what Karlin, Nicki and Jenny have said. The oldies really give us something that the pups and younger ones can't.

Toby was such a handsome and wise looking young man, bless him. Margaret, I'll bet it hurts like fury and although time will ease your pain, you'll never forget your little man.

I'll bet he's up there looking down on you, sending his Mamma lots of love and big kisses.

Take care, thinking of you xxx

5th September 2006, 10:53 PM
What a beautiful story and a wonderful dog. My thoughts are with you. :(

12th September 2006, 09:01 AM
it was surely related to the care and love he received in his lifetime that he lived so long and died of old age. what a wonderful life he had, which you helped to give him.

sadly, compared to our human life expectancy, even healthy dogs live such a short time. it hurts. I still cry for my first dog teddy who died when i was was 14. All i have to do is think about her, remember her special ways that made her who she was. (i'm now 57). what gets better with time is getting used to the absence so that it's not a jolt all the time. but it always hurts.

i hope your pain will ease steadily with time. it was so wonderful to read the story of Toby and to get to know him through your words and his kind gentle face in the picture you shared.

it's quite wonderful to hear of a cavalier who lives such a long time.

thank you margaret

19th September 2006, 06:43 PM

Thanx so much for the beautiful picture and story of Toby. I live about an hour from Hearts United - my daughter often sponsors a pup looking for a new home as a "buddy".

How lucky Toby was that you found him - all the wee pups on the Hearts United web site are usually recovering from some very adverse conditions. Please visit the web site if anyone is thinking of adopting or sponsoring a loving canine till he/she finds it's forever home.

Lincoln, Nebraska

20th September 2006, 02:13 AM
What a wonderful story. The photo of Toby is so very touching. He had such a sweet face. We also took in a older dog who belong to my mother in law when she died. He was a little llasa apso who was 14 years old and also blind. It is amazing how well blind dogs can get around. We were told by so many people to put him down, but he wasn't ready to go. He lived with us for another 2 1/2 years until his quality of life diminished to the point that we knew it was time. These little guys gave so much to their owners before their owners passed on...they deserved to have a great home until it was their time to cross the bridge.

21st September 2006, 09:58 PM
I don't know how I missed this post. That picture is captivating - it looks like a painting. He was beautiful. I love your story and it is wonderful that you both were able to spend so much time with each other even though he came to you so late in his life. I am happy for you both and very sad for you. I'm sure he will be missed but it is the time you got to spend together that really counts. Thank you for your story. :flwr:

22nd September 2006, 02:20 AM
I'd like to thank all of you again for your kind messages. Toby "returned home" last week when his ashes came back to me. It was a bittersweet moment since just two days before his ashes arrived we had gotten a new puppy. Sasha arrived earlier than we expected by a few weeks. He has been a real bundle of energy and we've found ourselves watching as he seems to "channel" Toby. He went right into Toby's bed (the other dogs hadn't been at all interested) and he has the same bathrooming ritual that Toby did....lots of circling around and around and around. We love him dearly AND we still miss Toby.

Thank you again for your thoughts.


22nd September 2006, 02:27 PM
I'm so glad you've taken another wee puppy into your home. I too have a Sasha - she is my blenheim.

Sheri Ramirez

Joanne M
28th November 2006, 04:52 AM

I'm very sorry for your loss, I can only imagine the emptyness. But I am also struck by the thought of what a wonderful life Toby had with you and your family. An amazing Rescue Story.

29th November 2006, 04:17 AM
To all who have responded to my original post, thank you again. It's almost four months since Toby died and I still have my moments of missing him terribly. His ashes are in our bedroom next to one of my favorite photos of him and I say goodnight every single night. Having a new puppy has been great therapy. We often find ourselves comparing Sasha to Toby since Sasha shows Toby's great ability to get into mischief. In case any of you are interested I made a website as a tribute to him shortly after he died. You can see it at:

The main tribute is a longer version of what I had posted here. There are also some photos and a note I wrote about my personal observations on end of life issues for dogs.

Anyway, thanks again for all of your kind words. They really helped.


1st December 2006, 02:52 PM
Oh my god, sitting here crying again, you were bless as was Toby, give him a good night kiss for me - I am glad you have him home with you again, if not in body....

Cathy T
1st December 2006, 03:32 PM
Oh wow, that was such an incredibly beautiful tribute. To think that you got him at 8 years old expecting to give him a "couple" of good years...and 7 years later! That is simply amazing. What an incredible little fellow. Your story of his first time in the stroller was so sweet. I could just see him RUN. Blessed little boy. I am a buddy to someone at HUA and you have just reinforced by decision to remain a buddy.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write out Toby's story and share it with is. He wil remain in our hearts forever. What a lovely lovely boy.

21st December 2006, 12:58 AM
What a lovely fella....your Toby.

We went through the same thing just ahead of you....it's our first Christmas without Charley.

We'll miss his "groan" from under the table...he always waited for the turkey to be dropped!!

Hopefully, soon you'll reach the point of remembering the funny bits and some of the pain with decrease.

Best Wishes.

23rd December 2006, 06:51 AM
i enjoyed the tribute website, and the photos in particular made me smile a lot. While in the very last photos, he appeared to be transitioning away from this world, in his photos of a year ago, such as his 15th birthday, he looks so puppy-like still. what a special boy with such a youthful spirit to carry him so far. To Toby, wherever he plays...