a tribute to our beloved toby
Today is a very sad day. We helped our little dog Toby cross over the rainbow bridge. For the last 6 weeks when his cancer (oral melanoma) came out of remission, our world here stopped. We knew our time left would be short and we made every day count - spending hardly a second away from him. Appointments and vacations were canceled, work was put on hold, friends were told we'd visit with them later. Toby became #1 priority cuddling and loving him every chance we got!

Through our grief we are concentrating on the happy memories we have of Toby.


Almost 7 years ago to the day we adopted Toby from a Pekingese Rescue in Lakeland Florida. His story started out sad, discarded with heartworm at a rescue by a woman who wanted to put him down because she didn't want him anymore -- but he ended up with us -- loved beyond belief and spoiled rotten - just how every dog should be treated!

People would literally stop on the street when they saw Toby and exclaim and make a huge fuss over him. Sometimes the people who would stop would be not the type of people you would expect to love a little fluffy dog. I remember when we first moved to DC, Paul and I were walking Toby and a car playing loud rap music pulled up. The car stopped, and out came a group of guys with gold teeth very "gangsta" looking. When they saw Toby they started gushing and were making cooing noises at him and calling him pup pup. Toby soaked it all in. We couldn't go on a walk without someone making a huge fuss over over Toby and he loved it. He knew how cute he was! The barber shop guys would come out to say hi to him and then later check on him when he was sick. Everyday I would walk by there they would say "it's good day today - Toby is still here!"

Toby feels good today!

Toby helped us make many friends in Florida with our neighbors and here now in DC with other dog walkers, new friendships were blossoming.

Despite his cuteness Toby had a grumpy old-man personality which we thought was hilarious and charming. He could be a cranky sleeper, if we moved around too much on the bed he would let us know with a growl and it always made us giggle. Grumpy T, he was lovingly called.


Toby had his way of doing things, he didn't like to eat food from a plate or a bowl so he quickly trained me to hand feed him and he got hand fed every day for the entire 7 years we had him.

He loved going over to my Mom and Dad's when we lived in Florida, we called their house "Chicken Grandma's" because my Mom would make freshly boiled chicken just for Toby's Sunday visits and as soon as we got out of the car, Toby would race to the door excited and smiling and waiting for his chicken.


There are so many more wonderful memories and so much that Toby has taught us and brought to our lives. The world is a lonelier place without Little T in it, but I feel blessed we got to spend 7 years with him, each and every day was precious.

We miss you already little guy!

Thank you to everyone who follows me on
Twitter or Facebook, your sweet messages have been so appreciated you have been there for me through this process and I thank you for that!

Thank you so much everyone of you for your wonderful and moving comments, knowing that we are not alone with this heartbreak comforts both Paul and I. We read your beautiful comments together and remember Toby. Thank you!!


I'm so sorry, Claudine. This is so difficult, we who have been there feel along with you. God bless!
I am in a pile of tears. Toby was so lucky to have you and vice versa. Thank you rescuing him and giving him a second chance at life AND spoiling him properly :)!! I love animals more than i can express, so i really can feel your pain and loss...and i can also understand the utter joy he brought you for many years.
Many woofs and purrs,
my heart goes out to you! I know this has been a difficult time but Toby will always know how much you loved and cared for him. I hope this takes some tears from you as I will keep you & Paul in my thoughts and prayers.

Naples, FL
Oh Claudine, I am so very, very deeply sorry for your loss. I will miss seeing Toby's smiling face on your blog. Keeping you guys all very close...
I am so sorry-my heart goes out to you. Take comfort in the fact you gave him a wonderful home and that no one could have loved him more.
So sorry for your loss. It is difficult to lose a member of the family, the house just seems so quiet. He sure was a handsome boy.
dear claudine and paul

i am so sorry for your loss of your beloved Toby.

what a beautiful tribute to a special doggy who has touched so many lives.

your deep love for him exudes from your heart and will continue to touch others forever.

all my love
What a wonderful tribute to a gallant fellow. I'll always remember how he loved to snuggle on the old comforter next to my bed when you guys were away and how he would sit up straight in his car seat, surveying the world like a monarch. And also how long it would take to feed him his favorite chicken. I'd lie almost flat on the floor with hand outstretched trying to coax him to eat. Toby, we salute you.

big hugs to you claudine. how beautiful is it that we get to spend the best years of our lives with our precious animals. toby and max are probably sharing a sunny spot. clean? oh yeah girl, it is therapy! take care. ciao
I don't say much on your blog but I follow it everyday. My heart aches for you as I know what you are going through. I brought my parents' dog, JeJe, a large Pom, to live with me after they passed and he went to be with them in my arms. We think about all the fun things he did and I hope you can do that too. My prayers go out to you Claudine. Nancy
I am so sorry for your loss. Our furry friends allow us to be us and love us no matter what.
I will miss his loving photos on your blog.

So sorry, warm hugs to you and your family.

My heart aches for your loss. Like all pet owners, I know the feeling when our beloved animals leave us. I will make a donation to a Place to Bark in memory of Toby.
Holding you in my thoughts and prayers; I know how to difficult this is to do. Sounds like you both were gifts to each other.
I have waited for these news for some time now, always happy when it was not the day. I am so sorry for you loss. Toby was a very lucky little guy and I hope as the days go buy that you will think of more "silly" things he did that will make you smile and laugh. Loosing a friend is never easy.
I'm so sorry for your loss. But you did have a wonderful seven years. Those little stinkers really have a way of getting into our hearts. Many pryaers for you during this difficult time.
Oh Claudine, I am so sorry for your family's loss! I've been checking in frequently to see how he's been doing. You've given him such a great life!!!! You should be proud of everything you did for him and with him...I know he's grateful and loves you lots. He's on to the next great chapter, and you'll see him there one day. In the meantime, you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
I'm crying with you, you wonderful woman. I love this little dog too, thanks to you. He's the most beautiful pom I've ever seen.

Thanks for sharing him with us, and thanks for sharing your heartbreak. I hope I can share your next joy and help you divide this sorrow. :(

Praying for peace for you and rest. I know you must be tired.


what a beautiful tribute you've written. toby was fortunate to have found a home with you & paul, to love and be loved so much. with time i hope all your good memories will bring you comfort. my heart aches for your loss.
so sorry to hear this....and so glad you've had these past weeks with him!
thinking of you...
Jenna said it so well - we who have been there feel along with you.

I rescued the most wonderful little black dog from my street. My boys have grown up and moved on in their own lives and little Ally provides me so much love and company.

I pray for comfort during this hard time.

Dear Claudine -- I have been watching for the Toby news and dreading reading of his passing. I can only imagine how hard today was for both of you. What a beautiful tribute to your wonderful puppy-dog. Best wishes to you both.
I have thought of Toby every day since I knew he was sick. Your wonderful description makes me feel like I knew him and I have shed so many tears for you all. He was your fur child and I have mine and they are dear beyond words. Just remember that all dogs go to Heaven.
With sincere sympathy from me, Tutu Marie and Moe Cocker.
Claudine I left you a message on facebook too and I am so sorry to hear of your loss. You have so many wonderful memories of Toby and I know how big a part of your life he was. My thoughts and prayers go out to you both in this time of loss.
i am so sorry to hear of your loss. his pain is over. you did the right thing. he is in a happy place. i have only had to do it once and i am glad that you were able to make the decision to let him go.
Claudine, I'm so sorry to hear about Toby-dog. I know he is very special to you and I pray that you will feel lots of love and comfort as you grieve. Toby hit the jackpot when he found you! And you are so blessed with happy memories and new friendships because of him. You've been in my thoughts for these past weeks.
My love and condolences go out to you.
Claudine, I am very sorry to hear about your Toby! Our own Golden-Rusty is almost 9 and feeling the effects of arthritis every day. I don't know how to begin to prepare myself for the inevitable, whenever that should be...I am sure these are difficult days. What wonderful parents you were to Toby! My sincere condolences!
I have been following you and Toby and your positivity has been an inspiration to me at a very difficult time. Our ferret Sneezy was finally diagnosed with tumors in her liver on April 2. She hadn't been feeling well for several weeks and needed lots of care and love, very much like Toby. It was a very sad day when we lost her on April 8.

Often when I felt upset and anxious about her illness, your blog reminded me to breathe and enjoy each day left with her.

Thank you for sharing Toby's story. He was an adorable little guy who blessed you with 7 years of devotion. You loved him well.
Thinking of you and Paul today.
Very sad for you, but Toby had such a wonderful world and will be in your hearts forever, pondering the positive is such a good thing to do.

Sniff... sniff... my heart goes out to you and Paul and Stanley and Mabel. My Felix the Cat passed because of oral cancer too. All those final days were precious.

Toby was a gem! I will miss seeing his photos and your sweet words of him. He's in a better place and in no pain. Big (HUGS) to you and Paul during this rough time.
Hi, Claudine! So sorry for your loss. Sounds like you gave Toby a fabulous forever home. Beautiful, touching tribute.
I am so sorry. He had the best doggie life with you guys and you were with him until the end- all he ever wanted. *hugs*
Hi Claudine,

I've never really commented on your blog before but I couldn't let this post go by without giving you my condolences. I'm so very sorry to hear about Toby--loosing a pet is NEVER easy.

Most of us have done it and can understand the heartache you feel.

Much love to you and your family.

oh claudine. i was hoping that i would not see this today. i know it was coming but that does not make it better to accept. you made it so easy for us to know, love and care for toby so it hurts to see that the time is here. i wish i could hug you in person right now. HUGE hugs from afar and know that you are always and will continue to be in my thoughts. ♥ rachel
I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for allowing us to share your pain.
aw, so sad to hear this news. what a beautiful life you gave him. he is now your fluffy little angel in heaven, claudine. sending you lots of love. his body has passed over, but his spirit is alive and thriving forever, happy because of all you did for him :-)
Oh I am so sorry.

Little Toby was definitely loved.

We lost our beloved dog last April and I miss him everyday.
Your Toby story was fabulous...just a great tribute!
Stay as sad as you have to and stop cleaning the house !
Hugz, Suze
Toby doggie was lucky to have you and Paul for such loving parents! I don't think anyone could possibly take better care of a pup or kitty than you two!

Sending love and happy thoughts up to DC.
My sincere condolences Claudine and Paul for the sad loss of Little T. He will be there at the Rainbow Bridge waiting for you both when it's your turn which will not be for many many years but he will be there patiently waiting and 100% cancer free.
Michelle M
As much as he was a blessing to you, YOU were a blessing to him as well. Happy journey Toby!
My heart is with you~ may you find peace in the happy memories. He was so loved, what a lucky doggie.
Claudine and Paul,

So very sorry for your loss. I'm sure this is extremely difficult. Your post is such a moving and loving tribute to your beloved Toby. Every one of us who loves a pet and who has lost a pet (a family member really)feels your sorrow.

So sorry to hear about Tobey. My daughter and I know from seeing his pictures and reading your blog how much he meant to you. Big hugs and a few tears from us to you.

I am so very sorry for your loss. May you take comfort in knowing you gave him a good life and loved him very much.
So sorry for your loss. Toby was lucky to have been a part of your family-he'll always be in your heart.Their time with us is too short.

Gail Green
I am so very, very sorry for your loss. This is so very hard to go through.
Sending love.
I'm so terribly sad for your loss.

Toby was blessed and a blessing to have had you in his life. When he was rejected by his first owner, God made sure he would make it to a family that would love him how he was meant to be loved and that was you guys.

Hugs, LindaSonia
I'm sooo sorry to hear about your little friend.
A few years ago we had to help our best friend cross over...and I still miss him dearly every day!
My heart goes out to you.
Claudine, just now I knew your blog and I could see your Toby. I lost two of my beloved dogs in 2003 and 2004 and I know exactly what you are felling! They are very precious for us. They love us truly. I'm so sorry, sorry! Think, Toby is happy in a Dog's Heaven and he will be with you ever, there, in your good and big heart.
I'm so sorry for your loss. I've been thinking of you since you made your first post about Little T's cancer. Take care
I'm so sorry for your loss.....I got all choked up reading this. What a great tribute to your little friend.
oh i didn't know the history about adopting him and his poor possible living conditions before you got him....thank god for you! i can't believe you hand fed him the whole seven years! smile*......that's amazing....through all of your updates i will miss him too....and all of us will .....again, i'm so sorry....i loved hearing about his personality and how he would get grumpy and stuff....little again*.....toby's light has gone out on earth but not in our hearts....xo
It's interesting how a blog can unite like hearts. I hope that the messages you have received helps you feel the love of the blogging/reading community. Thanks so much for sharing Toby with us and may your hearts heal from his loss.
I am so so sad for you, Claudine. I know how it feels to help them cross over. We had to do that with our precious Auggie. I will be thinking about you.
I am so sorry . People who love and care for their animals have a special place in my affections.Please plant a little kiss on Stanley's head for me and accept my heartfelt condolences
I am so sorry for your loss. remember he is taking care of you two from above. *big huggggggs*
I'm so sad to read this, Claudine. You gave Toby 7 wonderful years, and in turn, got so much back. Thank you for sharing your precious memories. Lorie from your Sedona workshop
as the cliche goes, i'm am truly sorry for your loss.

I know how heartbreaking it can be to lose a beloved member of your family.

you are in my thoughts.
so sorry to hear about Toby. I cannot imagine how you feel not having him around - but my sincere wishes and sympathy go out to you and your hubby.
i am just so sad for your loss. but, also so happy that toby had such a loving home and was so loved in his life. it was a win win for both of you. i know you miss him terribly, and i am so sorry.
@the bluebird house
Hi Claudine,
so sorry to find out that Toby crossed that bridge... I do not even want to think about missing my cats, so i know it must be so hard. Hugs,
thinking of you claudine...
I am sitting here bawling my eyes out. What a loving tribute to such a wonderful little "pup pup" that Toby was! If he could get "gangstas" to coo, you KNOW he was a really special guy :-) He was so lucky to have found such loving parents in you and Paul, and you were both so lucky to have him in your life for 7 wonderful years. Cherish those memories and know that he is happily romping over the Rainbow Bridge waiting for you all to be reunited someday. Big ((hugs))
Im sorry Claudine. I've always thought that all dogs go to heaven and someday I know we will meet them again. In fact, they are our guardian angels. :)
I, too, lost my dog for 13 years. I was his mom when his mom died a day after she gave birth to him. He's been there for me especially when I cry. Oh, I am missing him right now....
Claudine sending you and your husband prayers and warm hugs at this difficult time. I enjoy all of your art but really love hearing your stories about Toby! Thanks for sharing all!
Our hearts and prayers are with you.
Toby was well loved. You gave him a wonderful life and he enjoyed his short years on earth. My thoughts are with you and your husband. I know how tough this is. Love...
Oh Claudine, I'm so sorry. I been through this a few times and it is so painful but you gave him a great life. My prayers are with you.
This is my first visit to your blog, and my heart is breaking for you and your family. I'm so sorry for your loss, Toby was such a lucky pup. Thank you for sharing your story. May time and good memories mend your broken hearts.
May peace be with you.
I have never commented before but read you faithfully. I just wanted to let you know how sorry I was for you loss. My hubs and I have 3 furry children of our own and cherish them each so very much. I cannot imagine the loss you are feeling. HUGS.
our hearts go out to you...and our prayers are with you. many hugs being sent your way...
Claudine, I am so very very sorry for your loss, my heart is breaking for you. You gave Toby a wonderful life, he was one very lucky pup! I'm keeping you and your family in my thoughts.
So sorry to hear about your Toby!
It's always so sad when a beloved pet dies...
My heart aches for you, Claudine. But at the same time, I am so moved by your choice to celebrate the time the three of you had together. Toby knows how much you loved him... believe me, he knows... even now.
Oh, Claudine .. I'm so sorry! All I can say is what our vet kept telling us when we lost our precious Vinnie ... you gave him the best life he could have ever had! My heart aches for you ...
I am so very sorry for your tremendous loss !! Thank you for being such a dedicated pet owner and for sharing Toby with us ! Thinking of you and sending you big hugs !! Liane
Sorry to read that Claudine.
I'm so sorry for you.
I lost my little girl Keesha last summer...
I'm thinking of you...
sending all love and hugs to you, Claudine and Paul. I'm so sorry for this terrible heartbreak- but know that he lived the happiest life with you. wishing you peace and comfort in all your best memories of your dear Toby.
Greetings from Scotland. So so sorry to hear your sad news. It sounds like he had a lovely life with you.

I thought it be interest you to know we have recently been through the same. Our little French Bulldog was diagnosed with oral cancer last May. We operated 3 times to remove it and each time it came back within a few weeks. We got 6 months with him and he died on 19 Sept 08. We miss him every day. I was very sad when I stumbled on your blog and saw you had been through this too.

Oral cancer is a horrible thing. I wish you all the best. At least you have lots of happy memories.
I heard the news from tymcode (twitter) yesterday~ I was in shock, I am so truly sorry this happened, I know Toby was the world to you & Paul~ I am not looking forward to the day that we will experience the loss of our little Snowy girl, teacup Maltese..we love her so~

thinking of you!!
Dear Claudine, Paul and all of Toby's family,
I'm so sorry Toby passed on. What an enourmous hole our pets leave when they go. All of us who have been following Toby are so sad this final day came. I know I kept hoping there would be some miracle. Words seem pointless, just know you will all be in my thoughts.
I'm so sorry, Claudine! I know you, Toby, and Paul were a wonderful and fun family!! I know you will miss Toby. You have done a wonderful thing for him and yourself with your tribute today! He is smiling down on you thankful for the 2 fantastic people who rescued him and loved him for the remainder of his life. He's obviously made an impact on many people and will be missed by many.
Here's to Toby---One Great Dog!! :)
Susan Chong
It sounds like the past 7 years were the best of Toby's life. Even during this painful time, you can take comfort knowing that he was happy as a little dog could be.

Sending much love and good vibes your way!
I'm so sorry Claudine, I was really hoping for a miracle :-(
but at least you gave him the best life a dog could want, and you have wonderful memories of him.
I have dreaded looking at your blog because I didn't want to read about this sad loss! I guess I was hoping for a miracle! I'm so sorry for your loss. I know you're going to have lots of prayers and support coming your way.
Thinking of you both. Love from me and my own little Toby pup. I know I will be devastated to say goodbye to him when the time comes. It's a sad fact of having a pet that we will one day lose them. But they give us so much love and happiness that there's no way I would ever not have a fur-baby in my life. x
My heart hurts for you. I know how that feels, to lose a beloved dog, and I wish you the blessings of your wonderful memories with Toby and a healed heart to welcome your next beloved furry friend. Blessings to you and to Toby.
Such a touching tribute to a lovely little dog. I can understand your sadness, hugs to you both, Beverley, UK
Claudine-I am SO sorry for your loss! I have been following his story since you first posted about his Cancer. Big hugs!
Hi Claudine,
I'm a big fan of your work, so I stop by your blog frequently. My heart goes out to you and your husband over your loss of Toby. We have a dog and 3 cats...pets really do become a part of the family.
toby was blessed.Love to you and Paul.
I am so sorry to hear about your sweet Toby. I know you will miss him terribly.
Aww, Toby, may you enjoy every moment in that big back yard in the sky, little guy.

Claudine, I came across this poem not too long ago and sent it to my dad, who recently had to help his best friend across the rainbow bridge, also. May you find comfort in these words:


There's something missing in my home,
I feel it day and night,
I know it will take time and strength
before things feel quite right.
But just for now, I need to mourn,
My heart -- it needs to mend.
Though some may say, "It's just a pet,"
I know I've lost a friend.
You've brought such laughter to my home,
and richness to my days.
A constant friend through joy or loss
with gentle, loving ways.
Companion, friend, and confidante,
A friend I won't forget.
You'll live forever in my heart,
My sweet, forever pet.
-- Susanne Taylor
I'm so sorry for your loss. When I met you at McRae a year ago we talked about Toby and my sweet little pug, Rosebud. We both agreed that our lives are better because of our little loves. Sending you blessings from Florida.

Anne Marie and Rosebud
so sorry for your loss-we all know how much our 4-legged babies mean to us~we have 4 dogs and i can't begin to imagine life w/out one of them~may your memories keep you smiling~
Oh Claudine & Paul & Stanley, heart is with you. Toby had a wonderful life with you.
So very sorry for you loss.
Thanks for sharing all those happy memories with us. I hope they continue to bring you comfort through the sadness.
So sorry for your loss of Toby, what a beautiful dog. Look for his spirit in the next few days, he will always be with you, in your heart.
Sorry for your loss. He is such a cute dog. Susan
I'm really sorry. He's still with you and will always love you as you love him !
We have lost our cat Indi to cancer last year so I know how much it can hurt to lose your little friend like this, my condoleances.
My heart goes out to your and your husband during this time of loss. I can't imagine losing my schnauzer, Bailey. She is loved beyond belief as was your Toby.

Be blessed,
I too understand...

I don't have as much art time as I used to, and have stopped visiting a lot of blogs, but visiting with Toby was always a joy and his little face brought such smiles to my face right until the end.

What a beautiful tribute. Hugs to you
So sorry for your loss of the dear Toby. Will be thinking of you!
I am so very sorry, I have tears in my eyes. I am so happy that you have wonderful memories of your boy. your all in my thoughts and prayers. peggy
Oh Claudine!! I haven't been on the computer alot lately so I just found out now that sweet little Toby has crossed over!! My heart is acking for you and your husband! I dread when the day comes that I will have to deal with losing Gizmo to this horrible illness! Toby was such a lucky baby doll to have found such awesome parents in the two of you!! He was truly blessed as I know that you were blessed by being lucky enough to have found him also! Our little furry souls sure do have a way of teaching us about life and how to enjoy every moment of it with unconditional love. Toby leaves behind an awesome legacy of his love for life and his spunk!! I know that even though I never got to meet him in person that his little soul has had the opportunity to bless me through you and your blog!! Thank you so much for sharing him with all of us!!
Dear Claudine-my heart goes out to you and your hubby...that dear sweet Toby...we are going through the same thing with our pug, Max, we adopted Max when he had heartworm, so I know what you have been dealing with...there is never enought time with the dear sweet creatures...know that Toby is at peace.
I've been there and I just cried today about my little Morgan. The biggest help has been my loving Trigger which we got 4 months to the day after Morgie died. My thoughts are with you and your husband!
Claudine, I can only imagine how heartbreaking this must be for you and Paul (and your parents). He was such a special little guy and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him. He was one lucky pup to have such loving and sweet parents and a life full of joy and happiness. Sending you big hugs and keeping you in our prayers.
I lost my very special girl, Naiya, last nite most unexpectedly. Just by chance I read your page today and read that you lost your special pal only 4 days before I did. It is very hard. But just knowing that someone else is going through this helps. I am sorry for your loss. Both will be missed so much. My dog was only 7. Hers was an unknown, up until yesterday, heart problem. I still dont believe that she is gone.
I'm very sorry Claudine - I hadn't realized you had to say goodbye to Toby until today - I'm very sorry for you and your family's loss. I hope your days get easier...

all the best to you and your husband -
Hi Claudine,
I've been out of town so I didn't hear your sad sad news until now. I'm so sorry about your little sweetheart. He was an adorable little pup and the luckiest dog ever to have had you and Paul.
Take care,
I'm so sorry, Claudine about the loss of Toby. I understand the deep love you and Paul had for him. Praying for you this morning.
I am so sorry for your loss. Last year on April 16, I lost my beloved Jacquot, a coton of Tulear. I know how hard it is. He also had an uncurable disease. He was loved beyond belief and the wonderful memories are strenghtening me right now. I am sending you many warm thoughts.
oh Claudine....I am sitting here in tears....know what you are going through...been there so many times....your little cute pupster was so adorable and the memories will stay in your heart does get easier with time.
Big Hugs to you and your hubby
Kath xxxxx
God loves you special for taking good care of your wonderful dog.
So, so sorry, Claudine and family...I know it's so difficult to lose our pets. RIP, sweet Toby pup. oxo
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