Tori was a beautiful female Golden Retriever. My wife got Tori when she was 12 weeks old, although by the time I met my wife, Tori was six years old. Tori was a real beauty both inside and out, and it wasn’t long before I started taking Tori to my office every day. For six and a half years, she was my “little friend” at work and at home. I can’t even describe the bond that we formed and the connection we had over those years. She was extremely mischievous and a shameless thief and beggar.

Back in 2004 when Tori was 10 years old, we got a German Shepherd pup named Maxine. As an “only child” it took Tori about three weeks to adjust, but after that Tori and Maxine formed a very special bond. The most wonderful thing was how Maxine’s arrival rejuvenated Tori, and reignited her puppy spirit. I think those years might have been the best of her life.

In March 2007, I noticed that I would have to call Tori for breakfast. I realized it was a little out of character because she was always ready for her food. She would eat, but at a slower rate than normal. My wife and I watched her very closely for the next week or so. We thought that it might be painful for her to get up as she was beginning to suffer from arthritis, or it might be that the dry food was painful for her aging teeth. We decided to take her to the vet to get her checked out. The vet performed x-rays of her hind quarters and discovered that the arthritis was in her spine, and suggested that would slow her down. Tori received an injection in her spine and new arthritis prescription. That night when we took her home Tori was back to her mischievous self again.

The reprieve only lasted two days. I think once the effects of the injection wore off, she slowed down again. Over the next two weeks she slowed down a lot. She wouldn’t always eat her food, but she never refused a treat or a table scrap. Then one night, my wife and I noticed she was restless and couldn’t seem to get comfortable. The next morning I made another appointment with the vet. In my heart I just knew it was going to be her last day, but despite her challenges she still got up and wanted to come to work with me. I took her to work and tried my best to make it a normal day. In the afternoon, I lay on the floor with her and just stroked and loved her.

Later that afternoon we went to the vet. My wife, daughter and Maxine all came with us. After another set of x-rays on her abdomen, they discovered a tumor in her spleen that had spread to her lungs. The vet said that we might have a week left and to make her as comfortable as possible. However, we knew Tori, and we thought that after her restless night she might be suffering. We made the decision to have her put to sleep that day. I can’t describe the pain that I felt that day. The vet suggested that we act as normal as possible so as not to upset Tori. We all waited in the treatment room as they brought her to us. When she came in we spent just a few moments petting her. I went to the front desk to get a couple of cookies for her and Maxine, but Tori ate both of them. Immediately after that they started the injection. It only took about 15 seconds before she laid down her head with her eyes closed and it was over.

It was horrible going home without her and curiously Maxine appeared to be looking for her at home, even though Maxine had been in the room with us. However, that night I had a dream about Tori and the feeling that I got from the dream was that everything was alright and she was healthy again. I told my wife and she told me that she had also had a dream and described her as “Beautiful, young and in all her glory”. Neither one of us has dreamed of her since. As far as I can see in the Bible, it’s unclear if animals go to the same heaven that we do. However, I really believe that it was Tori’s spirit that came to us both that night. The only regret that I have is that I didn’t go to McDonalds and buy Tori her own Big Mac that last day. She loved to eat and as silly as it sounds, I think that could have been a very special gift for her.

God bless you Mark for your book and God Bless you and your family.

Marc from CA


(Picture of Tori and Maxine outside my office)

One Response

  1. Lesli Bourbonais Says:

    I just read your story of Tori and Maxine. I know what you and your family went through. You can go back through previous stories to find my entry of Stoli and Cedar. As you will read, we put Cedar down on January 23rd. In a ten day period we found out she had bone cancer, got a new puppy and put Cedar down. This has helped us get over the grieving period. We have had Aspen almost four weeks, and she has been a joy. Alot of puppy work and dedication on our part, but it has helped us transition. She is a St. Bernard. Best of luck to you.