This story is in honor of my close friend’s dog, Toby.
He was the best.
Black and brown were the colors of his coat, and chocolate brown were the color of his eyes.
He was mine.
After loosing our family dog not too long ago, this dog was a blessing from heaven.
After our family dog died, I knew I needed a new shadow to follow me around, so me and my brother set out to find our two new companions.
Both of the dogs clicked with our family.
My dog was what made me smile each day.
He was a wild, yet loyal puppy.
Training was needed, knowledge would be needed, but he was needed.
I could do it.
I knew I could.
He was rambunctious, but I was experienced.
So I worked.
I trained that dog so hard.
I worked him day after day until he learned every trick I had in my book.
He was the smartest dog in town.
He played hide and seek, he ran with me when we played airsoft, he sat, he laid down, he ran to his crate, he shook my hand, he was himself.
He was mine.
One of the best dogs I'd ever had.
He chased the goats, but he didn’t mean any harm.
If he ever did, I disciplined him well enough.
He listened when I talked to myself and him as I worked on school, cocking his German Shepard head.
He played well with my siblings, even when my sister rode on his back.
He was tall, his tail long, and his muscles strong.
Sometimes he would beg at the table, and I’d see my little siblings sneaking him treats.
I’d yell, “No!” But only because I wanted him to be a good dog.
If he listened, he got the treat he was after.
He was the best companion.
He never left my side, even when I wanted to be alone.
He comforted me with his loyalty, and I knew I would never have a dog as good as him ever again.
Sometimes I wished people knew me like my dog did.
He had heard me talking to myself so many times, he probably knew more about me than my own brother.
Now that I think about it, I guess I’m glad people don’t know me as well as he did.
One day, he got out of the yard.
We couldn’t find him for hours.
I checked the brush around our house, under our sheds, in our rooms, just in case.
My mom drove around the neighborhood, asking if anyone knew where he was.
Turns out, he was at the neighbor’s.
Relief flooded me the instant my mom brought him home.
If he had run away, and we hadn’t been able to find him, I don’t know what I’d do.
The rest of the year passed, and the next few weeks were smooth.
My dog hadn’t escaped and ran since that one time.
He was still my greatest achievement, and my greatest friend.
His personality was like mine, but in dog form.
Adventurous, risk taking, tough.
He liked to jump, to dig, to run.
Though, we had to get him a shock collar.
I was afraid he’d run off again.
He had shown signs of wanting to run off again, and he even got out of the yard a couple times. We caught him if we were fast most of the time, but we didn’t want to take any chances.
It was hard to hear the volts make him yelp, but I had to do what I had to do.
He was fine until just recently.
He had bolted again.
It was the plan for my parents to travel out of state for two days, and I was to go stay at a friends with all my siblings.
But the day he bolted was the day before my parents were supposed to leave.
We looked for him long into the night before we were to be dropped off.
He was nowhere.
The neighbors had no idea where he was, my parents had no idea where he was, I had no idea where he was.
In the late hours, we turned in, my arms void of my dog.
When we woke up in the morning, my mom made the decision to stay with me to find my dog, my dad and one of my siblings would go out of state, and the rest of my siblings would go to a friend’s house.
It didn’t matter how spread apart our family was for the moment.
My mind was focused on one thing.
The day after my dad and brother left to go out of state, and the other kids had stayed the night at the friend’s, we found my dog.
A neighbor had spotted him on his property and for whatever reason, used his shotgun.
It could have been to protect his stock, it could have been the fact that an unfamiliar dog was on his property, it could have been anything.
I was utterly crushed.
The thought of my brother's dog, who was adopted at the same time as mine, searching for her fellow dog friend, wrenched my heart.
That night was especially dark.
I’m not ashamed, I shed some tears.
How could I go home knowing my Shepard wasn't going to be in my room in his crate? Wagging his tail, whining to get out?
How could I come home and tell my little siblings, "He's gone." ?
There was a void inside me.
When my last dog had died, I was sure that nothing could completely fill that void.
And nothing could… completely.
But this dog almost filled it.
Now he was gone.
But maybe something else could almost fill the void.
I needed another companion.
I had to find one.
So, around a week later, we checked the dog shelter.
As we walked down the aisle, we peered into the cages.
Then I saw him.
Black and white with one blue and one brown eye.
A collie, a husky, I don’t know what he was- a mix, maybe?
He was awesome.
He had one brown sock, and a white streak down his nose.
He was supposed to be mine.
My mom agreed.
I would name him Kylo.
He was joyful, bouncy, and wild.
He made me smile with his puppy antics.
He was extraordinary.
My last dog would always inspire me to train my new dog Kylo harder, to work myself harder.
He was elusive.
He was Toby.
Rest in peace, Toby. You brought joy when you were on earth. Thank you for being the awesome companion that you were.