The following pet loss story was shared with DoveLewis Pet Loss Support Director Enid Traisman from Robert Lapka. 

It has been almost 4 months since Toby passing. I wanted to communicate to you, and others, my enduring love for Toby (aka “The Professor”), which I carry in my heart and mind each day. I have thought about him each and every day—usually many times a day. I can be walking, eating, gardening or many other activities when my mind searches for how it would be so much better with my buddy by my side. Because he was by my side for so much of my life these last 11 years.

This whole past winter season was one of the worst in my memory. A lot of it revolved around Toby’s worsening situation. Started in mid November when we first noticed his limping. Extended into December and early January with the constant round of doctor’s appointments and his worsening pain from the bone cancer in his shoulder. Then from Jan. 9th till now while my grief over his passing continues.

The increasing warmth and sunshine of the Spring has helped lift my mood somewhat. There is some renewal in my spirits but they will never be complete without my sweet brown Doberman. He would be worried about me , even in his darkest days. You could see it in his eyes. Dobermans have such powerful expression from their eyes.

Since we no longer have dogs the house feels so quiet and lonely when I’m the only one at home. It used to be that if I went upstairs Toby would follow me without fail. Then if I went back downstairs Toby would be beside me or just in front of me to lead the way down. Toby would stand on the top stairs and wait for me if I didn’t head downstairs immediately. Was very cute that he was so concerned about my presence.

One of Toby’s little quirks (one of many) was that he never cared much for having his picture taken. Which explains why I don’t have a whole lot of his photos to sustain me. But the ones that I did manage to take thru the years right now bring equal amounts of sadness of the loss and happiness of past better days. I’m certain the sadness will lessen while the joy of nostalgia will increase. Just a couple of weeks ago I remembered that I had a videotape of Toby (with another dog that we had named Blackie) that I hadn’t seen in over a decade. I now get to relive a young and vibrant Toby, if only in a movie, chasing a ball in the backyard. What a gift to receive. Thank you again Toby for coming back into my life!

During those last waning weeks of his life I made a few vows to myself which I have now fulfilled. They are that I would write a blog to you about my faithful companion; I would memorialize his life, and I would volunteer at a dog shelter. Mission accomplished. A few notes about these actions. I knew writing this would be hard and sure enough it has been a tear jerker. But it was worth the effort to reminisce about such an important part of my life. To memorialize Toby’s life I got a stone marker to lay next to the markers that I have for Toby’s former housemates, Zeke and Bobbie. Also commissioned a painting of him (not done yet but the early stages of it look wonderful) and I got a leaf on the Memorial Tree for him. Finally I have been walking shelter dogs every week. Brings such joy to me to have a dog walk beside me once again. I walked a Doberman mix a few weeks ago. Had an urge to adopt her!!

Enid, thanks so much for helping me navigate around a very dark period. Good luck in all the work you do for people and their loved companions.

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