[July 11th, 2008] Toby joined our family on Wednesday, July 9th, 2008. He previously lived at the Little Shelter here in Huntington, Long Island. Before that he lived in Virginia, the shelter told us. They picked him up from a shelter down there, who had him listed as a stray. We know nothing else about his background. Little Shelter tell us he's about three years old.
Toby is settling in pretty well. He is an energetic and affectionate dog. The only odd thing about him is, he doesn't seem to bark. We haven't heard him bark once yet. This may be just residual shyness, though.
Welcome to our house, Toby. We look forward to many happy years of companionship, and shall deal with the heart-tearing when it comes.
[July 13th, 2008] The shelter had Toby listed as a Jack Russell terrier. After the death of Boris, my wife found great consolation in Alston Chase's book We Give Our Hearts to Dogs to Tear, which is populated mainly by Jack Russells. She set her own heart on getting a Jack Russell.
Some peculiarities of Toby's appearance, and his refusal to bark (Jack Russells are famously barky), have suggested to some of my readers that Toby may in fact be a feist. I'd appreciate further opinions on this, just to satisfy idle curiosity, and can post more pictures if necessary. It makes no difference to us, as we have already bonded with the little fellow. I myself couldn't care less about pedigree. Mrs. D., for her part, is a person who will not be moved from an opinion once she has formed it; and she has formed the opinion that Toby is a Jack Russell. (Similarly, she believed through all of Boris's long life that he was a "Tibetan terrier," whatever that is, though Boris was as obviously a mixed-breed mutt as a dog can be.)
[July 15th, 2008] No, I have checked with knowledgable readers: Toby is definitely a Jack Russell. He speaks for himself here.
[August 26th, 2018] Toby left us at noon today after several weeks of poor health. He died at home, in his own familiar bed, and seems not to have been in any pain.
We buried him this afternoon under the trees in our back yard, the whole family present: Dad, Mom, Nellie, and Danny. Danny, whose training as an infantryman had included instruction on the digging of foxholes, made a fine deep grave for him. Toby is sleeping there now, with all his favorite blankets, bowls, and stuffed toys.
Goodnight, Toby. Thank you for ten years of unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship.