Toby isn’t a rescue dog in the true sense of having come from a shelter, but he came from a pet shop and I’ve come to think that’s pretty much the same thing. He came “pre-sick.” When I got him, he weighed a little less than four pounds. Two days later he was obviously ill, and the vet said he had pneumonia, hospitalized him, and put him on a combination of medications. Two days later they let him come home, and he was lethargic and way too quiet for a little puppy. Then he stopped eating and drinking. There was another trip to the vet and another hospitalization in the ICU. He was down to 3.2 pounds. My sister went with me when we picked him up, and I remember the doctor telling me to give him lots of TLC. My sister remembers him saying that there was nothing else he could do for Toby, and TLC was all that was left. I must have filtered that part out.

I’d had my little guy for less than 10 days, and he’d been hospitalized twice. In the X-rays his lungs looked like cotton candy. One of my co-workers said he was “defective” and I should give him back. Give him back? Obviously, she didn’t know how quickly a person can fall in love with a puppy.

Between a new combination of medications and some homeopathic remedies, along with lots of prayers, Toby began to recover. I took him back to the hospital for a followup, and when the doctor listened to his lungs, he pronounced them “normal” and said there was no need for additional X-rays. He gave Toby his first rabies shot, presented me with the rabies tag, and told Toby, “Now you’re an official dog.”

Today Toby’s almost three years old and has made up for lost time – with a vengeance. He’s way larger than a “normal” Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, but he’s got the soul of a Cavalier. He’s loving, gentle, playful, and very intelligent. He also continues to be a fighter. He’s got lots of problems with his skeletal structure. One doctor told me he’s a “great dog with terrible conformation.” Toby has had a sprained tail as well as a pinched nerve in his neck and a dislocated hip that later required surgery. One of his patellas luxates. He just pops it back in place and keeps going.

He also has arthritis. The doctor said that many owners won’t put up with an arthritic dog. I figure that if Toby can put up with an arthritic owner, we’ll be just fine.

Every day I look forward to seeing those big brown eyes when he wakes up. Toby loves to lie on my lap whenever he can, and if I’m a little under the weather he won’t leave my side. I treasure the time we have together. He’s already taught me about taking life as it comes and not complaining. He’s taught me about having the will to overcome pain and illness. And he’s taught me that when life is so good that you just can’t stop wagging your tail, that’s all that matters.

Elaine from VA