Happy Birthday, Toby

Tomorrow, December 4, would have been Toby’s 10th birthday.

I honestly don’t even know what to write right now. It’s almost three months since he passed away and some days it seems like it happened yesterday, and other days it feels like it was an eternity ago. Despite putting words on a paper for a living, I don’t think I will ever find the right ones to truly express how much Toby meant to me.

He was such a special little guy who had me, and pretty much everyone else, wrapped around his little paw. There was just something bigger than life about him.

I miss him so much. There are so many times I wish he were here with me, Maddux and Bear. It’s sorta still unreal that he’s not here, and that we went through everything we did.

Talking, and writing, about him has brought me much comfort. So has making jokes about him. For example, the other day something happened and I said, “oh, if Toby were here that would have never happened.” It’s hard to adjust on so many levels. Even something like not getting up five times in the middle of the night, feels weird.

Last year I made a big deal about his birthday. I didn’t know if we’d see another one, so I made sure it was special. I had a weird feeling at the time it might be the last one, and I think he knew it, too. He was a perfect gentleman all day, and even wore his adorable birthday hat for photos. Probably the biggest feat, was wearing the hat while sitting and staying in front of a lit pupcakes while I took photos.

So, you may be wondering about the photo above. Isn’t it beautiful? If you’re not crying yet, good for you, because I was in immediate tears when I opened the box. It was a gift from my aunt and Uncle. They gave it to me over Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t find an appropriate way to share it with all of you. His first birthday in heaven (or wherever he is) seemed like the perfect time.

It’s a hand-drawn painted image based on a photo of Toby at a beach in Lake George. The artist nailed it. He just absolutely captured Toby’s spirit. As my aunt said after I finally stopped crying, it’s like having a little glimpse into heaven and seeing that Toby is watching over you.

And, if that wasn’t perfect enough, the frame is resting on an easel that my Uncle made me using wood from a tree that was on their farm. We wanted to see how something would look on the just-made easel, so we put Toby’s framed portrait on it and then my uncle put a light on it. And, yes, you guessed it – the tears just started pouring down me and my aunt’s face.

Oh, Toby, I miss you. My heart still hurts and I second guess everything we did. I search for answers on why this happened and if we did everything we could to help you fight.

I don’t know if there is a rainbow bridge or a doggie heaven, but if there is, I hope you are enjoying your birthday.

You will always be in my heart.

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