A little girl’s best friend

9 Jan

I have lived with dogs my whole life. When i was born, my parents were already the proud owners of a big, cuddly, overly friendly but ever so loyal Golden Retriever named Toby.

My Dad says that his favorite memory of Toby is how he acted around me. He would spend hours just sitting beside me, making sure that i was safe. As a baby or toddler, my parents would leave me to sit outside in my pram. The whole time, Toby would be there next to me. My Dad said that even if they called him inside, he wouldn’t move an inch without me. My mum would always add that if i cried, he would bark or even go inside the house to get them.

My mum’s stories always involve how well he would walk on the lead. She said she would walk miles with me in the pram and him trotting along beside her, good as gold.

Just like many children who grow up with a dog, or rather, a dog who grew up with children, he turned out to have the patience of a saint. When learning to walk i would grip onto his fur, hoist myself up and then pull myself along with him. I don’t remember, but i am sure i had many conversations with him as well!

Contrasting the calm and patient dog that he is most remembered for, i do remember how he was overly friendly and would jump up at every person he met, children included, but no one ever minded. Of course, i do also remember him being great with people (children included) and extremely loyal. I don’t think i will ever forget the day that he came to school with me. At Primary school we used to give “two-minute-talks” (show and tell) and i decided that Toby would be the perfect subject. I remember him standing perfectly still with his tongue hanging out of his mouth, enjoying all the fuss he was getting from a class full of children.

I wish i didn’t remember  but the day he got put to sleep is still etched in my mind as though it was yesterday. I was devastated. My sister and i were told to wait in the car, and i remember looking at a picture of a Golden retriever that was on a leaflet i had picked up. I couldn’t stop crying. I even refused to go to school the next day. A few days later it was my turn once again to do a “two-minute-talk” and as i had done the year before, i had planned to do my talk about my dog. I remember the teacher saying that i didn’t have to do the talk, but i had insisted. This time i went to school armed with photographs and Toby’s birth certificate and vet book. The teacher said she was proud of me, and i was proud of myself, and of my dog.

I will never forget growing up with the lovable lump that was Toby, i think it was probably due to his gentle and loyal nature that helped my love of animals, and dogs blossom.


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