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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Toga's Birthday

Today would had been our first dog's 17th birthday.  He pasted away in 2013, and it's been almost 4 years since he has left us, but the memories, legacy and how he had improved our lives remains with us.

Toga came to us, before we had children.  My husband, Tim, and I learned how to be responsible and loving when we parented a puppy named Toga.  He went with us everywhere.  We brought him to the beach and laughed as he ran in circles on the sandy beach, and we gasped when he seemed to be drowning in a deep tide pole.  We brought him to dog parks, and laughed and watched affectionately as he made new friends.  We were proud of him for being a good boy out in the dog fields, playing and taking turns with balls.  We taught him tricks, that got him awards and prizes at local fun dog shows.  When he seemed to be allergic to something, we went to our vet and had allergy testing done, even though it was costly.  We took care of him like a child, buying him foods he could digest.  By the time he was two years old, our first child was born, and we were more than ready for the challenge of motherhood and fatherhood, since Toga taught us so much.

Toga had to now share his "mommy and daddy."  And even though he was never mean or he never was aggressive to our son, and then 2 years later, to our daughter, we knew he was not so happy to have them around.  He was definitely a "mama's boy."  As I would be I feeding my son, Toga would jump on my lap, not facing my son but me, and to show that he was the older child, the more dominant one.  Toga was always a good sport.  We have so many pictures of my son with Toga, and he always posed for these pictures.  When our son was able to move in a walker, Toga learned that our son was a great food source, often dropping his baby crackers on the floor, on his path around the house.

When Toga had his last birthday, at 13 years old, he lived for less than 2 weeks afterwards, when we made the decision to put him down.  He had been suffering terribly.  He had diabetes, congestive heart disease, and a liver condition, which led him to be on 3 different medications.  Our vet reassured us that we had done so much for Toga, and we knew when it was time for him to stop suffering.  When we rescued another dog, it was nice to hear from the rescue group that our vet raved on how well we treated our first dog, Toga.  That we would be a great candidate to rescue a dog.  And as I sit here, 17 years later thinking about my very first dog, I think our training with Toga made us good candidates for "real people;"  our 2 kids, that I would do anything for.  Like caring for an ailing dog, I would do anything for my kids.    Even though I now have 2 different dogs named Buddy and Guppy, Toga just has this special place in my heart.  Happy birthday in heaven, sweet Toga.

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