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.