Posts Tagged ‘on toby’s terms’

Playing Fetch with a Stick – Not a Good Idea

September 24, 2011

My dog Maya loves sticks. She loves sticks so much that she has torn down all the branches within reach from the trees in my backyard. At first, I thought nothing of it. She loves sticks, so why not? That is what I used to think until I read about the dangers.

The first time I heard about the dangers of chewing on or fetching sticks was in the book, “On Toby’s Terms” by Charmaine Hammond. This book is mostly about a dog named Toby who has issues with separation anxiety, but it also talked briefly about Toby’s incident with a stick. See, while Toby was playing fetch with a stick he accidentally ran the stick into the ground while he was carrying it. The stick tore a hole in his esophagus. It was so bad that the vet could not do surgery to stitch it up. Toby’s injury had to heal on its own and there was a very good possibility that it would not heal at all. If it did not heal, it might have been the end of Toby for his injury was painful and he would have been left to suffer. In “On Toby’s Terms”, Charmaine had said that the vet mentioned that he sees cases like this all the time and not all dogs were as lucky as Toby.

Another thing which sticks could cause is splinters in the throat or intestines. If a dog swallows a big wooden splinter, the splinter could get lodged and/or it could puncture a hole. Both situations could result in having to do emergency surgery or it could even lead to death.

When I took the photo above, I did not know the dangers. And I thought it was silly that Maya had discovered that sticks grow on trees. But Maya does not get to chew or fetch sticks anymore. I have picked up all the sticks from the back yard and there are no longer any within reach on the trees. For your pet’s safety, we strongly urge you to do the same.

Saturday is the day for the Saturday Blog Hop. Since we are not able to put html code on this wordpress site, here is a link to a dog site that has the Saturday Blog Hop and lots of other dog blogs –

Book Review – “On Toby’s Terms” by Charmaine Hammond

September 10, 2011

On Toby's Terms

I didn’t realize when I bought this that a short story about Toby story is also in “Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul, What I Learned from the Dog”.  In the “Chicken Soup” book, Toby was featured as a great therapy dog.  With his help, people at the hospital were taught patience, assertiveness, and more.  But “On Toby’s Terms” by Charmaine Hammond was about much more than just how Toby helped people at the hospital.  Toby had some issues… some fairly severe behavior issues which the owners Charmaine and Christopher had to work through and eventually accept.

This is a joyous story.  I love reading stories about dogs, especially real dogs who have made a real difference in people’s lives.  Charmaine stated in her book that both she and her husband Christopher are better people because of Toby.  But according to Toby’s story, they aren’t the only ones who were touched by this special dog.

Toby’s behavior issue was a severe form of separation anxiety.  When Charmaine and Christopher left Toby alone for even a short time, they often came back to a house destroyed.  he tore up closets, emptied bookshelves, and broke the lid on the toilet.  Charmaine jokes about how many toilet lids they have to replace, but coming home to such a mess was not funny.

Charmaine and Chris tried everything they could think of to help Toby with his problem.  They hired a dog behaviorist, tried crating him, and they gave him a job.  It was the dog behaviorist’s idea to give Toby a job.  Toby’s separation anxiety probably stemmed from losing his previous owner who went to the hospital and never came back.  Toby was probably unsure about his place in the world and having a purpose might help.

So Charmaine got Toby enrolled as a therapy dog.  Ever Wednesday, he went to the hospital and brought joy to many of the patients.  Toby excelled, but his separation anxiety did not go away.  It lessened and Toby made great improvements, but even today he still has issues.

So “On Toby’s Terms” isn’t about how Charmaine and Chris cured Toby’s problems, it is the journey of how Toby came to be a better dog and Charmaine and Chris had their lives enriched because of him.  Toby did some naughty things, but he is such a happy-go-lucky dog that a his owners still cherished him despite his short-comings.  If a dog can give unconditional love, doesn’t it stand to reason that we should give it back in return?

On Toby’s Terms” is an inspirational story that we can all learn from.  No one and no dog is perfect but we all have something to give if only given the chance.  Read about Toby’s journey and adventures in “On Toby’s Terms” and you will not be disappointed.