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Tobi is gone

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Salt and pepper

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Its been over six weeks since my Tobi left for the hydrants in the sky. Deep within my heart, where he wormed his way fourteen years ago June, he developed habits and attitudes that are difficult to forget. These weeks have done little to quell the memories. It all began when he was first placed into my cupped hands, I said to then owner, “I cannot give him back.” She and her daughter both cried. It was supposed to be temporary, for the day, to have him given his first shots for he had not yet been weaned.

But he was. That night, as he did for every night of his life, he slept on my bed. He never cried or whimpered that night, strange for a little fellow. I was worried about him drinking. I wet my fingers and he sucked on them. Within a few hours he drank on his own. He quickly developed the habit of falling asleep with his bum tucked up against me, or, between my legs.
Food was another experience. I worried about him not eating. I fed him morsel by morsel. He had a very weak chin which made it difficult for him to eat. This practise went on for years.
About a year and half ago, when I would put him on the bed, on occasion, he would sit at the end of the bed and stare at me for long periods of time. I always wondered, as I still do, what he was thinking during these sessions that could last over five minutes. Then he would come up to my shoulders and bed himself down, by throwing his full body weaight against me.

Tobi, after almost two years, accepted in his life and mine the inclusion of Kikko, a dog of the same breed mixture. The two became constant companions. I became aware that Tobi could transmit to Kikko a variety of things a variety of habits. Among them was a house rule that they were not to climb stairs in the house. They were meant to be carried. Tobi was a self- taught leg lifter, and, most always pawed the ground after a satisfying voiding. His first attempts landed his chin on the ground. Tobi from his early years paid homage to every flower in a bunch, sniffing each and appearing to relish their scent. There are so many traits, habits, and attributes that Tobi had, and which Kikko never copied. Within days after Tobi’s long sleep, Kikko began to adopt many of his mate’s habits and rules. I list a few:

Tobi would, on his walks, tinkle at a thousand different places while Kikko raced ahead, and watered perhaps three. Now.

Tobi always pawed the earth after a poop, a sign of his masculinity. Kikko rarely bothered to do this, but now.

Tobi would give one peculiar bark for me to bring him down the stairs to be with me, to lift him up on the bed, or to fill his water dish. Kikko seemed to wait for his partner to make the request, now, on a different octave the same . . ..

Tobi had to have several reassurances that the food I had given him was for his benefit, move the plate a little, turn it. Kikko, after an unapparent approval, advanced to wolf down his plateful. Now, I must indicate to Kikko that it is for him. He looks around for Tobi, then cautiously advances to eat.

Tobi demanded several times a day to be taken up and to sit on my lap, or, be placed beside me on the large chair. Tobi, when I sat near the table, would always rest his head on the table edge, and, if we were sitting too far away, would signal me to move nearer to the table. With Tobi’s departure, Kikko will come to sit on a chair with me and last night placed his chin on the table, remaining there for a much longer time than he had ever done.

Tobi always sniffed every individual flower in a group, giving the impression to each that they were important. Now,

What bothers me a great deal about Tobi’s absence is that each time I do yoga, thoughts of him invade my composure. Tobi’s absence has caused me to do a great deal of thinking about the hereafter, whether it exists, because if it did, I would be assured of sharing with him the gift of life.

With Tobi’s absence, I have found a piece of gold in Kikko. This little guy rarely makes a request, and when he does, it is with his eyes and a tiny movement of his head. He waits until I think about his needs. He is most continent. And, if I cry, which I do, he comforts me. If he speaks, it is with his eyes.

How empty a heart can be, and, how full a heart can be. At the same time.


1 Comment

  1. A sweet story about a very special friend.

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