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Toby_LoungingToby became my guide on the day I adopted him in August of 2004 at the obnoxious age of eleven months. I never imagined the journey I had begun when I chose him as a companion to help Leah overcome her fear issues. Toby succeeded in that, and so much more.

For someone who initially despised dog trainers, Toby took me to see more of them than I could count, and I learned something new from each and every one of them. Most turned out to be compassionate, talented people, who gave me the tools, techniques, and tricks necessary to advance Toby’s training. A few showed me which methods were not a good match for me and my dogs.

Working with Toby taught me that when choosing an activity to do with your dog, both the owner – and the dog – should enjoy it. This helped me to rule out which activities were not a good fit for us, including agility, dock diving, and formal obedience.


After earning his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and getting his feet wet with therapy dog work, Toby introduced me to the versatile world of dog sports. Together we competed in both AKC and APDT Rally Obedience until a cyst on Toby’s wrist forced him to retire from jumping, and from there we moved on to K9 Nose Work. A year or two later, once he officially retired from all training classes, he enjoyed the life of a spoiled house-dog, up until the time came for us to say goodbye to him in April of 2016.

Through my adventures with Toby, I met so many amazing dog people, many of whom are now like family. I will forever be grateful to my sweet (yet devious) Labrador for taking me on a journey of discovery, one that led me to so many unexpected places.