Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Day I Gave Toby Away

I'd been avoiding writing this post only because 12 days later it still hurts to think about. It happened quickly with no real time to process what I was about to do. She called to say she was in the area and within 30 minutes, he was gone.

I felt myself beginning to detach days before in the hopes of making the separation easier, but the thought of giving him away still pained me and when she called, I just slipped into autopilot. I grabbed his things, swooped him into my arms and placed him in his carrier. When he started shivering once we reached the sidewalk, I placed a hand on the bag's side and softly whispered, "Ish okay, ish okay..." I wondered if it was the afternoon chill or if he felt as anxious as I did.

We ran through the initial pleasantries, if he had his shots, why I could no longer keep him, her two other dogs and the woodsy area she lived in. I let Toby pop his head out of the carrier one last time and pet his head, wisps of hair flying in the wind and clinging to my coat. "He likes to bark a lot," I reminded her, "but just give him lots of attention, tire him out and he'll be good. He's a good dog." The last line wasn't for her; a part of me wished he could understand that. After she cooed over how adorable he is, I tucked his head back inside and zipped him up.

I practically sped away because I couldn't watch them drive off. I just placed him in the back seat and left with my camera still in my coat pocket. No final pictures, no goodbyes, no I love you. I forgot to tell her how much he loves it when you fill his treat toy with peanut butter or that even though his front left leg is a bit twisted, he runs around just fine. I didn't ask her to break up his bigger treats into tiny pieces because otherwise he'll swallow it all in one gulp without chewing like a little beast. I forgot to ask her not to put him in those stupid dog clothes.

The tears starting coming as I climbed the stairs and by the time I reached my apartment, I knew I was going to lose the fight. I locked the door behind me and just ripped the band-aid off. I cried and im'ed, sobbed and chatted. It felt as if I'd just committed the biggest mistake of my life and all I wanted was for someone to make it go away. Toby had only been gone a few minutes and already I wondered if he was okay, if he was scared, confused. See, it was one thing to know that this was for the best and another to actually feel it. Sad thing was, whenever I was upset about anything, I'd grab him and go out for a long stroll. Now what?

Without him, I turned to monotonous chores, repetitive mundane tasks and talking with friends who understood what I was going through. Those emotions have since waned only somewhat, but the little furball still pops into my dreams (I swear he'd better not be wearing dog clothes), his hair will be swept up from these corners long after I've moved and sometimes, when it's eerily quiet in my apartment, my ears will play tricks on me and hear his tags still jingling across the floor.

Image: Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische


  1. :(

    I cry with you. So sad.

    Been here. There. You know what I mean. For some reason, when you talk about the dog clothes, I picture my little Evelyn wrapped in fluffs of pink and cringe. When you talk about his wisps of hair, I see her and her fluff of wild loopy curls.

    Losing a pet, any way they go, is a bit like losing a kiddo. And it hurts. A lot. Keep nursing the wound. It will get better.

    Now I need to go wake up my baby and kiss her. Thanks a lot. Hubs thinks I'm nuts.

  2. I'm so sorry :( I know it had to be such a difficult decision. But take comfort in the fact that you tried your best and in the end, gave him a good home where he'll have play buddies for when his new owners aren't around

    hang in there :)

  3. Big hugs!!! I'm so sorry you had to give him away. Fur babies add so much joy and comfort to our lives.

    It will get better and you still have your sweet memories.

  4. This post has ME crying. But you know you did this for the right reasons. And since there are other dogs at his new home, you don't have to worry about him feeling lonely.

  5. I agree with Karen. Toby should have lots of fun with his new pals. You did the right thing.

  6. While I know, and you know, that you did the right thing, it wasn't easy. And everytime you think you hear the gentle jingle of his tags, I bet he stops whatever he is doing and cocks his head and thinks back to the time when he was with you - a time of growing up and exploring the big old world out there... and he will wonder if YOU are okay.. and hoping you aren't dressing up as a dog and moreover - he's probably thinking, "I hope she is always happy and always smiling and laughing and able to run like the breeze through the park" ... because that is what good doggies do...

    Hopefully someday, he'll call you - or learn how to IM and give you a happy bark and an update.

  7. Rumor has it, Toby has a closet full of clothes now ::))

  8. OMG, this post made me cry. I had to keep looking up at my dog, and then I would just cry harder. I couldn't imagine doing what you did -- even though it's an admirable and brave thing. I'm such a whacked-out dog mommy, I couldn't give my pup away, I'd be so heartbroken.

    I pray that Toby is in a happy, warm home. That he loves playing with his new doggy siblings. That he's not wearing clothes. That he knows you love him and only did what was best for him.

  9. I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better, but I don't think there is, so all I can do is offer you hugs, and tell you that - as much as this probably doesn't help - I know how you're feeling. I remember how much it hurt when I let my girls go.

    *Hugs, hugs, hugs*

  10. Sending great big *HUGS* your way. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to give your doggie away but I'm sure you had good reason and it sounds as though Toby is in a very good place right now which is obviously what you wanted for him. He'll think of you always and fondly and will love you forever--take comfort in that :)

    I also wanted to thank you SO MUCH for your sweet comment on my blog--it's wonderful to meet another native New Yorker.

    Wishing you a very happy holiday season, hun.


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