October 1, 2009
My Best Buddy....
Sticking with my theme of the blog, Glory Days, I like to reminisce a lot. I figured today should be no different because 5 years ago this weekend I adopted my best buddy Toby from PetSmart in Olathe.
Why Toby you may ask? Well this weekend Brittany and I are taking our engagement pictures, and the pups will be in some of them, so I was instructed to get Toby a haircut and cleaned up so he looks his best for pictures. For some reason I had a tough time dropping him off this morning to get groomed. He just stared at me when I walked out like "Hey why aren't you staying? Where are you going?" I have to admit it broke my heart a bit and got me thinking and it hit me. Oh my god 5 years ago this weekend I got Toby!!!
It all started with my then roommate Mikie. We were loving living in our own apartment and always talked about how we needed a dog. Nevermind the fact that we weren't allowed to have them in our apartment. So in a typical college move, I do not think about ramifications of my decision and we drive to the Lawrence Humane Society. Mikie, myself and the ex girlfriend (stepmother as Brittany calls her) get in my mexican S-10 Extreme pickup on a Saturday morning eager to get a dog. I remember thinking how bad I wanted a bigger dog and one that had a light colored, golden colored coat. Growing up in our house of 6 men and my mother you would have thought for sure we had a big lab or golden retriever as our family pet. Nope not us. My mom outruled us and put her foot down and we had Missy, a Shih-Tzu/Toy Poodle mix. She was a foo-foo dog for sure and weighed about 11 pounds. Not what you would imagine for a family of 5 boys, but she was a great dog. She came to all of our baseball games, but only followed my Mom everywhere. I was always jealous and wanted a dog to love me that much, so I decided that if I ever get a dog, it would be big so it can play fetch with me and we would have all sorts of adventures.
Back to the story, we get to the humane society in Lawrence and after looking at all of the dogs, none really strike my fancy. Then they bring out a gorgeous Australian Shepherd puppy. This dog was a little fluff ball, and had the brightest blue eyes I had ever seen. I instantly decided this is the perfect dog but find out I am 9th on the list. So if the 8 families before me decide they don't want her, she is mine.
I realize that I have a better chance of marrying Brittany Bruns (remember I had seen her at this point and thought she was my moon goddess, hahaha I can't believe I just typed that) than I do getting this dog. I leave somewhat dejected. I should have stopped there and took that as a sign, I don't need a dog, especially in college. So what do I do? I say I want to keep looking and drive to Kansas City to goto an adoption day at PetSmart!!!
When we arrive at petsmart they have all of the dogs lined up in their kennels. I see this perfect dog that I want. She was so peaceful, calm and was a golden retriever/australian shepherd mix. Her name was Abby I think or something like that. I fall in love, this is the dog I have always pictured. Big, calm, fun and most importantly OBEDIENT! I am ready to take Abby to the counter until Mikie and the Ex GF, come running up. "Jimmy you have to look at this dog!!!" I say ok, knowing I cannot be swayed. I see one of the most ugly looking dogs I had ever seen (or so I thought). I say no way. He has dark colored fur, and he has black spots on his tongue, and it looks like he has cripmed blonde hair on his ears. No way. As those thoughts run through my head, I can't quite describe it but this dog was just looking at me so calmly. I couldn't put my finger on why this dog was so funny and attracting me. Maybe it was the blonde highlighted crimped hair? Maybe it was the fact he was sitting literally I shit you not, and as you all know like a little human being with lots of fur and four legs?? Maybe it was this bushy tail that looked like it belonged to a 40lb. squirrel. I don't quite know what it was, but I asked to take him out of his cage so I could get a better look at him. I should have known right there this dog would be mine in 30 minutes. They let him out and he jumps on me and hugs me in typical dog fashion. I lift him up for some reason and he goes to town licking my face. I chuckle look back at Abby who at this point was back asleep in her cage and realized I needed a dog with some pep in his step.
Good lord almighty did I get one with pep in the step!!!! I pay the 40$ adoption fee and after getting some toys head back to Lawrence with MY first dog, Scout! Yes Scout was this dog's name. Mikie and I decide that this is extremely too lame for a dog that I will own. I mentioned to him a few weeks earlier that if I ever get a dog, I would like to name him after my favorite country music artist Toby Keith. We think this dog looks just like a Toby and I settle. Scout is gay and stupid and Toby is a much better name for this mutt. We head back to Lawrence, I am excited for fetch, sleeping together, and a new wingman. Little did I know that Toby would be there for Brittany's and mine first date, which I will detail later in this post, our engagement and probably our first child (scary). He would also play an integral role in Brittany liking me. I think Britt described it one time as 85-90% of the reason she liked me when we were dating was because of my half human dog.
And that my friends is the story of how Toby became a Carter. I thought I would share some of his finer moments. A week or so after I got Toby we were at a pet store and I saw this book. "Dog Tricks for Dummies." I laugh and thumb through it, and they show you how to teach your dog to fetch you a drink from the beer, roll over, play dead etc. etc. I think sweet this dog can get me beers how awesome will that be. I am not exaggerating this at all that night after hopelessly trying to get Toby to perform I quit and watch TV. Toby being not fully potty trained yet decides to lift his leg and pee on a low sitting shelf. Why is this funny you ask??? On that shelf and again this is God's honest truth, was the book "Dog Tricks for Dummies" covered in dog urine. I thought it was ironic and that was the last time I tried to train Toby.
As it is well known Toby has an iron stomach. Nothing will kill this dog. He has eaten rat poison, cans of chewing tobacco, an entire pack of cigarettes (that was an interesting night), an entire cheesball Brittany almost killed him for that, an entire chipotle burrito, 3, 1 lb. raw chicken breasts, an entire pan of uncooked Thanksgiving dinner rolls, My mom wanted to kill him for that, a wallet of mine, a credit card of mine, my ex-girlfriends cellphone, several pairs of women's shoes, lots of beer, raw steaks, my dad wanted to kill him for that....shall I continue????
Anyways as promised there is one of my favorite Toby tales of all time. Mine and Brittany's first date. It was at the dog park, by Clinton Lake in Lawrence. I frequented this often in college because Toby would run wild for 3 hours and come back home and actually be calm. Its amazing what running around for 10 miles will do to a dog! Anyways as I always did I showed Brittany our standard walk at the dog park. Toby of course was off leash. (By the way nothing pisses me off more than when I goto a dog park and a person has their dog on a leash, I think that is so retarded and mean and I want to go put a leash on the human and make them walk around). We walk down to the spillway, which feeds into this mini river/stream in the dog park, where dogs goto swim or wade in the water. Toby loves (well did love) this area. He always (used to) went out there to wade. Never swim, but Toby for some weird reason just liked testing the waters, pun intended. This time however we had had a huge thunderstorm the night before so the spillway was opened all the way to lower the water level in Clinton Lake. When this happens it actually turns from a stream into a river and there is tons of water and it moves VERY fast. I tell Toby no don't go near the stream. (Side note here, I am pretty sure that Toby thinks his name is "No" he hears it so much, in fact I am convinced of it). Anyways Toby doing what Toby does best, ignores me and wades on out into the stream. Like I said earlier it is moving pretty fast and I could barely stand up in it, it was so strong. Toby gets out to the middle of this river, and poof. He pulls his best Harry Houdini disappearing act and is gone. I look at Brittany and she looks back at me like, "What the hell, where did he go??" I chuckle a bit thinking dumb dog, serves him right.
Brittany and I stand patiently on nice, dry ground waiting for my dog to go down this mini waterfall and come up, learning his lesson. 1 second passes, no Toby, 5 seconds pass, no Toby. about 20 seconds pass, and yup still no Toby. By this point you would have thought Brittany just had her child kidnapped or stolen. Brittany is crying, "oh my god, is he dead, where is he, JIMMY wah wah wah" I, trying to impress her and as I always do am the cool-headed mature one, and instead of losing my cool think, ok what can I do here. I realize that this mini waterfall is creating a suction of sorts, because the water is flowing so fast, and poor Toby is not strong enough to get his head above the current. So what do I do????
In a move that will be talked about, laughed about and discussed with our future family I bravely jump completely in the freezing water grab Toby and rescue him from drowning on the spot. I get him out of the water and he runs off unfazed. I look over at Brittany and you would have thought that I had put the sun in the sky, the way she was gawking at me. I was her hero! I had just saved a dog's life. Brittany would later let me know that, that was the instant she knew she loved me and that we would have a long bright future together.
As with almost all my posts, I think it is so funny how I and all of us get so set on something being one way. In my case I wanted a golden haired, calm obedient dog that played fetch. We can't explain why things turn out so extremely different than we planned, but for some reason we go with it and end up with a Chow-German Shepherd Mixed Mutt, that has dark hair, and crimped ears, that You would swear is Satan's dog at some points.
Its just so crazy to me the way things work out, this dog I didn't want, who had none of my prerequisites in a dog, would be responsible for getting me my future wife. That is just crazy folks. I always joke with people and we laugh about how bad of a dog Toby is. (Marley, from Marley and Me, ain't got shit on Toby!) I always say with my luck Toby will never die and I'll never get rid of him and he will live until he is 25! I can only hope looking back on our good times that I am that lucky to have him live that long. I wanted a wing man in a dog, and boy did I get one! Love ya Tob!