I want to tell you a story of my friend Tobin. But There wouldn't be a story to tell if Hazel hadn't come along first. Hazel had a paw in the rescue of Tobin. This is a tail of two labs.
Hazel and three of her sisters were abandoned as babies only four to six weeks old, behind a building. Hazel is a lab mix. We were heart broken and decided to adopt her.
She quickly grew and made it clear that she didn't like being home alone. I suggested getting a friend for Hazel and my wife suggested I build a fence in the back yard first.
That's where things were left. I wanted another dog, I don't like fences. One night my wife asked me if I saw the post she tagged me in. I don't carry my cell phone with me at work, so I didn't notice. By the time I saw the post, it was Friday night. Monday was a holiday, so I couldn't even check to see if he was there till Tuesday.
The days passed slowly and finally I got to meet the gentle giant named Tobin. As soon as I met him I knew for better or worse, I was busting him outta doggy jail and bringing him home.
I believe animals learn a lot about you with one sniff of your clothes. Tobin had to have some idea what he was getting himself into. Yet he dragged me to the car anyhow.
While doing his paperwork for his spectacular escape, I was informed that Tobin may have heart worms. While helping him in the minivan, I realized his hind legs and hips were becoming a challenge as well.
Home he went anyway. That was a Tuesday. The following Thursday we took Tobin to see some of the most wonderful vets I've ever met. They did an exam and a heart worm test. Tobin waited with us patiently. After three days in our crazy house full of a dog, cats and kids, Tobin had managed to touch each of us in some small way. Except maybe the cats.... Any way before they can come back and tell us the test results, my wife says I don't care, we are keeping him.
I couldn't have walked away from him either. Treating heart worms is very expensive, not to mention painful for Tobin. They literally inject him with poison to kill the heart worms. The heart worms did some damage, but I am happy to say Tobin came through with flying colors. Though I think he will always have some difficulty breathing, he shows improvement every day. I want to personally thank Colyers Veterinary and the volunteer group PASH for helping Tobin to be the dog he is today.
If you've stayed with me this long, listen a little longer. As I said Hazel was abandoned as a puppy. I can't thank the heartless jerk who did that enough. Hazel is a wonderful loving friend who I would be lost without her in my life. She is my fur baby and my family. I've always brought puppies home when it was "time" wether the timing was good or not.
When they are little you watch them grow, and just like your own kids, you love them, spoil them and on occasion get mad at them for what they did or didn't do. But, you know them because they have been with you almost from their beginning.
The shelter told me that they thought Tobin was 12 years old. He had a micro chip and the shelter was able to determine that Tobin's last home didn't want him back and that we would be his third home. The vet placed Tobin's age at closer to 8 years old. That's still a lot of history about Tobin which I know nothing about.
What I do know is that Tobin was one of the best decisions I ever made. He too is my fur baby and my family. I can't imagine a day in my life without Tobin nearby.
As Hazel loves unconditionally, it has taken Tobin time to start to love, to understand that both he and Hazel have found their forever home.
I watch Tobin and see something distant in his eyes. With each passing day, we both work to make up for lost time. Tobin is happy to be near me. I hope to earn his trust one day. Something that comes easy for Hazel, having grown with her family.
One night shortly after Tobin completed his heart worm treatment, I woke up to Tobin's labored breathing. He was having difficulty catching his breath. Hazel and I sat with him and did our best to comfort him. Eventually it passed. Then Tobin did something he hadn't done before, he laid his head in my lap and went to sleep. This was to be one of many small mile stones that have shown me that adopting an older dog is just as good as adopting a puppy, maybe better.
Hazel and Tobin have been best friends from their first day together. Hazel does her best to rule the roost and Tobin does his best to let her.
Without Hazel we would have no Tobin. Thus, a tail of two labs.....
I meant to post this some time ago. But I never got around to it. Today with tears in my eyes and a broken heart I left my friend at the rainbow bridge to start a journey he alone must take.
Tobin got through the heart worm treatment with flying colors. I am and always will be proud of him. He spent every waking moment looking after my family. More than once I've come home late at night after finishing my shift to find Tobin on his bed with my ten and eleven year old boys fast asleep on either side of him and Tobin patiently doing his duty watching over his boys.
We had a little over a year together. As he got older, his breathing problem got worse and his larynx became paralyzed, making it difficult for him to breathe.
I said goodbye to my dearest friend today. My selfish self wanted more time with my gentle giant. We worked so hard to build a friendship that should have lasted forever. It ended too soon at the rainbow bridge. One day I hope we will walk in the sun together again. Until then I know God will be waiting for Tobin on the other side of the rainbow bridge to tell him he's been a good dog and has done his duty to his family well.
I can only hope I improved Tobin's life as much as he did mine. We love you Tobin, your my good boy.
I want to Thank Kelsey for introducing us to Tobin, Colyers Veterinary and staff for loving Tobin as much as we will always and for making him comfortable for his journey. Last but not least, I want to Thank PASH for the financial support in treating Tobin's heart worms.
For those who read this and are thinking about adopting/rescuing a dog, an older dog has just as much to offer as a puppy. A puppy will give you unconditional love from the first day. An older dog will make you work to build a relationship but in the end the reward is worth it.