For a little 13-pound dog, Toby took up an elephant-sized space in our lives.
This week has not been easy. We all, especially me and Maddux, miss him more than words can explain.
Reading everyone’s comments, emails and texts, about how Toby touched their lives from people, who in many cases had never even met him, but got attached to him through social media, has been so comforting and makes my sad tears turn into happy ones.
The day I got the idea to start writing My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much is incredibly clear in my head. It was a snowy January morning and I was watching Toby stare out my full-length back door, while drinking coffee at my dining room table. His adorable little tail was wagging like crazy while he was watching snow come down and watching the wildlife run around in the backyard.
I looked at him and said, “doesn’t your tail hurt from wagging so much?” And, that’s when My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much was born. All I ever wanted to do was share stories about our life, the fun we were having together and maybe, just maybe, somehow make a difference in the world. Maybe someone would say “I want a Toby” and they would go out and rescue a Toby of their own.
We were never after giveaways, influencer statuses or millions and millions of followers. Not to say that there is anything wrong with that. We dabbled in that world a bit, and as I recently explained to a friend of mine who I met through this blog, I consciously took Toby and I out of that world and went a different path.
Sometimes, I question whether that was the right choice, and maybe I didn’t let Toby live up to his potential, but after reading all of the kind things said about my little 13-pound love I know I did the right thing for us. In fact, those things I hoped for – actually did happen, and every time I think about those people who wrote and said they adopted their dog because of Toby, and in some cases, I learned it was also because of Maddux, my heart fills with joy and I could not be happier.
It’s what has gotten me through this week. While I haven’t been as much of a wreck as I thought I would be, I have had my moments – and those moments, like breaking down crying in the bathroom at work or balling my eyes out while driving to class with Bear, suck. Monday afternoon after things settled down and I worked myself up so much that my body just shut down, Maddux came over to me, plopped himself on my chest and cuddled into my neck. We stayed like that for more than 3 hours. No words, no movement, just us.
My dad said when I took Bear to obedience class on Wednesay night, Maddux whined and cried and yelped at the front door the whole time until we came back home. I watched him pace and search the whole house when we got back for almost an hour look for Toby.
I know that’s a normal reaction, and he will learn to live without Toby, but right now my heart just breaks for him. Except for maybe a total of 10 days – Maddux, who was 4-months-old when we brought him home, was with Toby every day for more than 3 years.
For me, the emptiness hits at the weirdest times. When I grab two leashes or two food bowls instead of three. At night when I don’t hear his snorting and there isn’t a little dog barking at me and hitting me with their paw because they want to go out every two hours and then eat.
When I’m making pasta and no one is sitting at my feet staring up at me. When I actually go to sleep in my bed instead of on the couch at my Dad’s where I’ve slept for almost a year because Toby refused need to go out frequently and refused to sleep up stairs in bed like he used to.
Thursday was especially tough for me for some reason. Maybe it’s was because I knew Friday I had to go to pick up Toby’s ashes. Maybe because it all finally hit me. But, I couldn’t concentrate at work, I felt sick and dizzy and was having major anxiety attacks. I actually left work a half hour early and when I got home I completely lost it while laying down on the couch. Bear immediately came out of his crate, put his body on top of mine and rested his head on my head. I don’t know how he knew, but my heart rate immediately dropped and I was able to calm down a bit.
Although I keep saying it and I know it to be true – we got a whole lot more time than we expected with him, he never suffered or was in pain and others are not so lucky – it still hurts. It’s a new normal that I am still getting used to. I miss Toby.