Toby spent most of his 14
years in the lap of luxury in his home in eastern Michigan, but his life began
in very different surroundings: a Wisconsin puppy mill -- the very same one
that WPMP's Mr. Peabody came from, Yvonne Skinner's kennel in Reedsburg.
never met Mr. Peabody or his "mom" in person, when I read their
story, it was as if it had been written about my Toby! Toby may or may not have
been related genetically to Pea, but this statement especially rang true:
"[He] suffered from poor breeding, chronic health problems, and
emotional scars due to his background, for all of his life." In my
opinion, if two dogs, born a year apart and having the exact same problems,
isn't proof that his breeder was cranking out puppies with no regard to health
or temperament -- I don't know what is! (You
can read about Mr. Peabody here.)
in 1995 what I know now, I bought Toby at a MI Petland on sale... at 11 weeks
old, my adorable spotted puppy was sick and full of worms & parasites. Toby
met the vet during his first few days with us, and became a frequent visitor
after that. He developed fatty tumors that were removed three separate times;
one turned into a sarcoma that left a giant hump on his shoulder. He had all
kinds of allergies.
problem, though, was aggression, vicious, unpredictable aggression toward
people and other dogs. What I know for sure was a puppy mill fault was, he
hated gloves and people who pulled their sleeves down over their hands. He
would bite them in a heartbeat. We had to be very, very careful.
However, despite all of
his physical and emotional problems, Toby loved life, and he had a good one.
His yard was his kingdom, and though he wouldn't tolerate some dogs, he adored
his buddy Lucky. Running and playing were a joy to him; he had the typical
Dalmatian curiousity and did not confine his explorations to ground or nose
level -- particularly when there were Squirrels in the neighborhood!
He loved his
people, his treats, and his toys. And, bless him, he loved his Mom, even when
she asked him to pose for just one more photograph when she'd already taken,
like, a million!
Toby left us
in July 2009 -- he would have been 14 on August 30th, 2009. I am quite frankly
surprised that he was with us for so long.
"mom," I'll never regret bringing Toby into my life and into my home.
And like Pea's "mom," I, too, have been working for years to help
animals in need -- and to put an end to puppy mills.