The not so-cute-things about Toby

“Kiss kiss”

He would licked with so much affection and love.

“Kiss kiss” probably meant (to Tob) a way to express love and my Tob showed it the only way he knew how. That was to lick and showed affection with his ‘hugging’ eyes on me and those whom he knew loved him.

I meant to write about the ‘incidents’ that happened while we had Toby. However, in my mind, I tend to fondly reminisce all the good and cute things about Tob that the not-so-cute things became secondary.

We didn’t know the traits or the challenge in having a Staffordshire Bull Terrier as a pet. According to some articles, Staffordshire Bull Terriers need to be socialised at an early age as they can be aggressive towards other dogs. Toby was a ‘Staffy Lab cross’.

However, it should be noted that both breeds are boisterous, and mouthy when young, things which need addressing sooner rather than later. They can cause a fair bit of damage knocking over both ornaments and people when excited and puppy’s teeth are sharp even when playing or not meaning any harm.

Both of these dogs are also renowned pullers on the leash (The solution to that can be found here) so it worthwhile drumming in the “Heel” command early on in training.

In Toby’s life, he had three incidents that were not at all pleasant and made it quite stressful for us. On the other hand, because we knew so much more about Toby’s traits and personality, we became extra careful in handling him in public (during walks and when we brought him out to public places).

His first incident shocked us so much. Tob was around 2 years old and as always, we took him to almost everywhere we went. We were having breakfast at a local cafe and this young waitress came round and petted him and stooped down to his level and put her face in front of him. It was such a sudden act that in fact took me by surprise and Toby must have felt uncomfortable and he growled at her. He sort of snapped and she was taken aback and to calm the situation, I said “Kiss kiss” trying to pass the message that she was a ‘friend’. Of course, Toby did not lick that young lass but he calmed down.

So his behaviour from that incident indicated to us that he was no longer a loving cute puppy and he was a dog with the genes of a staffy.

The second not-so-cute thing about Toby was when he lunged at a waitress when he was about three years old. He was under the table while we waited for our order. When the waitress came out with our order, my companion waived the Table Number Stand to get her attention and when the waitress came with the food, Toby suddenly lunged at her. At at point, I felt so embarrassed and knew I was so frowned upon by the other patrons. The poor waitress was frightened so I took her to the doctor who confirmed there was no bite. I was so apologetic and gave her $100 which she refused but I insisted.

From there on, we were very careful when we walked Toby. He had a tendency to lunge at strangers especially if they suddenly appeared in front of him.

He hated knocks on our main door (usually from courier early in the morning) and went wild, barking aggressively when strangers came to the door. When he was younger, he barked too when strangers (or my friends) visited but he barked while stepping backwards. In a way, Toby was a timid dog. We could sensed that he was afraid of strangers.

The third not-so-cute thing costed us $1,600. I was overseas and my son brought Toby out for a walk and he lunged at a lady. (That was when he was around 6 years old.) . His claw must have caught her ‘leather jacket’ and she reported him to the council and demanded $1,600 from my son saying that was for the cost of the jacket. My son was so threatened that he gave her $1,600. I honestly thought it was a rip off but of course we were at fault because Toby lunged at her. The council did not pursue the case as they were aware that both parties had sorted out the ‘dispute’ (incident) and the other party was not hurt or bitten.

After this incident, I flew home and registered Toby for re-training. That was when we started having a mat at the lounge because the trainer said that Toby needed to interact with people rather than locking him in a room or garage when friends called round. The mat was supposed to be a place he was ordered to go when people visited and was given treats as a reward. That did not quite work and instead, whenever I was about to leave the house, Toby would go and sit at the mat expecting a treat. Henceforth when Toby sat on the mat, he got a treat.

While it was challenging having Toby at times, the reward of his loyalty and unconditional love he had for me and my flatmates and family were so very rewarding. The times when he was so pleased when we came home and always greeted us with a toy in his mouth made me so teary now.

I must add a very cute habit of Tob here in this post. He loved walks and car rides more than food. When we left him in the car, he would move to the driver’s seat and waited for us. When we came back to the car, he would obediently move to the backseat. What a lovely boy. His life was all about being with us, going for walks, car rides and food.

I used to say “I cannot live without Tob” not knowing that he would be taken away from me so unexpectedly and suddenly. The lifespan of a staffy lab cross was supposed to be between 12 to 16 years. Toby almost could not even make it to his 10th birthday but thankfully he did and passed away three days after his birthday.

Mummy miss you so very much, my dearest Toby. I am so heartbroken without you, Tob and have no idea when my grief will end, if ever at all.

My smart Tob

Toby was a Staffy Cross Lab. As a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Labrador cross, he was born to be ‘playful, clever, loving and great with children’.

We had no expectations when we adopted Toby from the local SPCA. He was tiny and cute. We just wanted a puppy to share our lives. Toby was the size of my palm when we first brought him home. He was timid and was shivering when I first held him.

I considered my Toby as human as anyone else. He was so much a part of me. When he passed away nine days ago, a part of me died. I am still grieving terribly. To comfort myself, I continued to talk to him as though he was alive. My Toby slept on my bed and with his passing, I kept his old toys, old collar, cushion and car seat into a ham bag and that became a ‘pillow’ that took his place for now (as a comfort and healing process) on my bed.

This post is to record the commands Toby knew. Amazingly, Toby understood every word I said. However, he had his own mind whether to obey or not. Any commands with regards to food, treats, walk or car ride were immediately responded to with joy.

Toby knew …..

  1. Go on the grass – To pee.
  2. Shake hands – A must before meal.
  3. Sit – Whenever out for walks, we sensed he was a little scared of other dogs or cyclists. Used ‘sit’ to show him that nothing will happen if he sat still.
  4. Stay
  5. Down – To lay down.
  6. Cross – Sit and cross used during walks and before crossing the road.
  7. Breakfast
  8. Dinner
  9. Drink water
  10. Treats
  11. On the mat – He would go to the mat in the lounge whenever I was about to go out. He used that as an indication he wanted a treat. The mat was placed in the lounge originally for him to stay when people came to the house (Toby was not very friendly with strangers). However, he took that as a place to ask for treats.
  12. No more – He loved food and treats and forever asking for more.
  13. Go away – We used to say this when he sat expecting crumbs during our meal time. This made him sad so we ended up allowing him to sit around while we had meals and fed him his dog treats every now and then so he was a regular diner with us.
  14. Wait followed by Go – He would be given treats but usually told to wait till I give the ‘Go’ command before gulping it up.
  15. Walk
  16. Car ride
  17. Come (here) – He even understood when I waved to him as a call to come.
  18. Good boy
  19. Mummy go to work – Meaning Mummy is going out.
  20. Mummy’s room
  21. Kevin, Bryce, Mummy and other names of people close to him.
  22. Mummy’s friend – Anyone he came in contact with (so he would not bark crazy).
  23. Massage – He loved it.
  24. Toys
  25. Drop – To drop anything in his mouth (mostly toy).
  26. Hedgehog
  27. Cat
  28. Tob – His name and also to mean (other) dog.
  29. Get under the duvet – He loved to sleep all covered up.
  30. Move up – At night when I wanted him to move closer to me.
  31. Wait (Mummy go toilet) – Usually use this when I left him alone in my room.
  32. Mummy love you – I said that to him all the time.
  33. Brush teeth
  34. See your teeth – I would open his mouth to check his teeth.
  35. Shower
  36. Put perfume – after shave/cologne to make him smell nice after shower.
  37. Get down – He knew he was not allowed on the Futon Sofa Bed in the lounge.
  38. Hug
  39. Kiss Kiss – He kissed by licking.
  40. Raining – The reason why we could not take him out for a walk.
  41. Good morning – Day time/Wake up.
  42. Good night – Sleep.
  43. Ummm Ummm – A sound I made when he refused to obey my command. He knew that was an order.

RIP my beloved Toby.

Mummy love you so much. Always loved, forever missed and remembered.

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