Toby has been my guide since 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 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 can 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 would not be a good fit for us, including agility, dock diving, and formal obedience.

Toby and MeAfter 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.

Today, Toby is officially retired from training classes and is enjoying the life of a spoiled house-dog – and he is also my favorite walking companion.

Through my adventures with Toby, I have 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 this journey of discovery, which has led me to so many unexpected places.

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