Well as you will probably be aware my sponsored puppy Toby a beautiful lab X ret has been born into the world to hopefully one day becoming a life changing guide dog.
The reason I wanted to Name a pup & chose the name Toby:
From when I was really young I wanted a dog desperately but wasn’t allowed because I was too young and due to my disabilities they didn’t think a dog of my own would be right at that time so when I was 8 mum rang guide dogs and enquired about a guide dog but they told her I was too young but to ring back when I turned 18. Obviously that was going to be a long way away. My obsession at the time was Jack Russells because it was the first dog I came across so that’s all I wanted was a little dog nothing big and something I could call my own and something that would help me talk to people. Mum and dad in the end when I was 9 they decided to foster for a charity called animal concern and we got a phone call with our first foster dog, a 13 week old Border Collie pup whose owners couldn’t cope with because they got him too soon after they lost their previous dog. We went to pick him up me thinking he was going to be tiny when mum and dad came out they plonked this pup on my lap and I said “he’s massive he can’t be a puppy” there was me thinking it was going to be a tiny fit in your hand kind of pup but this one nearly didn’t fit on my lap but I fell in love immediately, he licked my face and I knew I had to have him and had to find a way to persuade mum and dad to let me keep him. We thought up all kinds of Names for him but in the end I named him Toby. An elderly couple were interested in him but after a lot of thinking they made the right decision not to go for a collie because of their high energy. We were due to go to Cornwall and I didn’t want to leave him behind so I persuaded mum and dad to let me have him and they did and the rest was history as they say. From the day I knew he was mine we bonded so strongly and he followed me everywhere, he was so gentle on the lead, so intuitive to my needs and got me talking to everyone about him. He helped me accept my disability because he loved me and accepted me for who I was and that I was the centre of his universe because I loved him and cared for him and I played ball games with him which strengthened my arm and leg muscles and he would come back and drop the ball in my hands or lap so he could have it thrown again and again. He was my hero, when I had tough times at school he was always there waiting at the school gates or the front door for me so I could give him a cuddle and he would lick my face and gently paw me to give him more attention if I felt sad. When I ended up being in a wheelchair at the age of 15 due to my Cerebral Palsy he was there right beside me and would lie next to me and watch over me as I lay on the sofa and we used to call him Doctor Border Collie because he looked after us children so well when we were ill. He would walk beside my wheelchair and was not phased, I wanted to walk again for him so we could have more fun together again, when I was on crutches he was so careful around me and so gentle in all he did with me. On holiday in Cornwall that year as I just beginning to recover with the physio etc he would come into the sea with me not scared of the waves at all and whilst I on the body board he would run beside me or watch me from the beach waiting till I got out. He loved swimming and I loved watching him. He won soulmate of the year in dogs today calendar competition. At this time he was 11 and I felt he had kind of done his bit and was ready to hand over his job to a fully trained guide dog which he would have been perfect for but the timings didn’t work out unfortunately. He certainly was my best buddy, my ray of sunshine. I felt a bit guilty when I got my first guide dog but Toby seemed to know that he could now entrust me to Pearce and he knew we would have cuddles and together time when I came home. He saw Pearce come and go and he saw Texan join the house and my sisters dog and never did he complain he welcomed all of them with his big heart. He was 17 years, 2 months and 2 days when I had to make the decision to have him put to sleep on 6th June 14 at 9:20am. A heart breaking day but for all he did for me over the years I had to do the kindest thing and not let him suffer, I was with him till the very end, cuddled him tightly and told him I loved him and gave him the best send off.
Afterwards I kind of felt I wanted his memory and name to live on and knowing the difference he and my guide dogs made to my life I thought the best thing I could do was to Name a Puppy in his memory. I had to raise £5000 which I did with the help of a lot different people including the Guide Dogs MK branch and my friend Amy who did a walk for the cause just after her stroke and sll those who sponsored me for my climb up Snowdon, we did charity quiz nights as well and I just saved up and I did it in just under 2 years!
Now I know Toby will be pleased with my efforts and I hope Toby Junior shall we call him will do us both proud and hopefully go onto be someone’s life changing guide dog.
Will keep you updated on his progress as when I get pup dates.
Tomorrow Peter, Texan and I are helping out for a little bit at a store collection.
Hope this blog wasn’t too sad but I wanted you all to know the reason why I decided to Name a puppy Toby after my hero :).