Our Dog story
A Great Dog Story
We adopted our dog Toby, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever from NASAP, a local dog rescue agency when he was five-and-a-half years old. His original owners loved him and must have struggled when the time came to surrender him for adoption due to tragic circumstances within the family. We understood from the dog foster parents that Toby was about 40 pounds overweight and on medication when he entered foster care and when we adopted him several months later he was at a healthy weight for his size. The foster parents did an amazing job at helping Toby’s health and social issues.
The Problem with our adopted Dog
Several months after welcoming Toby to our family, little quirks, odd habits and strange behaviours began to surface. He exhibited extreme separation anxiety, even if left alone for short periods of time. When we would leave for work he would empty the front hall closet contents into the middle of the entrance way, knock things over and try and lock himself in rooms. He also closed himself in the bathroom and when unable to escape he crashed the toilet tank lid to the floor (we replaced six tank lids).
The crazy quirks
At meal time, Toby either went outside to bark, or went into the bathroom and banged the shower doors with his nose three times and frequently knocked the shampoo bottle into the bathtub. While frustrating at first, these behaviours and odd habits became somewhat amusing for our family. They are our daily reminders of Toby’s individuality and personality. When Toby’s routine was changed or if he was upset with us for some reason his unusual but endearing quirks such as emptying closets, knocking things over and emptying the book shelves would re-appear.
We sought help to deal with Toby’s behaviours. Maggie, from Capable Canines (http://www.capablek9s.com/Site/Welcome.html)
, provided us with a range of suggestions and helpful strategies. Maggie suggested that that Toby was uncertain of his role in our family – Toby needed a purpose.
The Dog Solution
We were introduced to CHIMO Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program, a well-respected AAT Program in Edmonton, Alberta. After Toby passed his tests we were accepted as volunteers with CHIMO and were soon placed with Alberta Hospital Edmonton. Wednesday afternoons were clearly the highlight of Toby’s world. The drive from our home to the hospital typically consisted of Toby smiling, barking and panting with excitement.
Toby seemed to understand his purpose and proved that by interacting with each individual in the appropriate manner needed by the patient at the time. He was intuitive and intelligent enough to recognize that around some people, he must be quiet, and respectful of their need for space and distance. Sometimes patients took him for a walk or to play fetch outside. On other visits he performed tricks and showed off, entertaining patients with his playful nature and tricks, including a 3/4 sommersault. Patients also helped him with his obedience class homework. When it came to people, Toby connected through the heart, and offered unconditional love and acceptance wherever he went. Toby won the Chimo Reese Award for his exceptional work as a therapy dog.
We are happy to say that as a result of his volunteer job, his behavior improved a great deal. Charmaine and Toby volunteered for four years at the hospital! His story and his journey from incorrigable to incredible along with the many lessons he taught us about being a better person, inspired me to write a book.
Dear Toby…I just read Charmaine’s beautiful book of your life and adventures… and was moved to tears several times… the love that you so generously share is making the world even more beautiful!
Joe Noonan, http://planetarypartners.com
Toby The Pet Therapy Dog & His Hospital Friends: A heartwarming and inspiring book. Working in ‘a home away from home’ for families who have come to Edmonton seeking treatment for their sick child, many of our families can relate to the story and understand how important pet therapy can be in the healing process. A must have on our library shelf for all to read.’
Jen Panteluk Director of Developmen Ronald McDonald House® Northern Alberta
On February 14, 2012 we launched Toby’s global kindness mission. During his life, Toby and his story left pawprints on thousands of hearts around the world. Toby presented to more than 10,000 students across North America, engaged 7,000 children in his random act of kindness mission, volunteered for almost five years at a hospital and raised thousands for charity.
Toby’s Global Mission…A MILLION Acts Of Kindness
This mission is ongoing. The goal is to bring kindness to the forefront in our family, community, workplace, and ultimately, the world. We acheive the mission through presentations to governments, corporations and schools.
Our school presentations, K to grade 9, focus on teaching children kindness through Toby’s Story. We continue to have corporate or government sponsors help bring our dog’s story to audiences throughout The United States and Canada. Our latest children’s book, k-4 is about bullying, (currently in final revisions). The next books will address adoption and safety themes.
We know from Toby that every act of kindness that is extended, leaves a PAWsitive impact and inspires another. Join us and PAW it Forward!
We encourage you to “friend” Toby on face book at Tobytales and OnTobysTerms pages and post your comments, quotes and examples of kindness. As well, follow Toby and Charmaine on Twitter and tweet about kindness, your favorite kindness quotes, examples of where kindness made a difference. You can follow them on Twitter at @hammondgroupbiz and @ontobysterms. Let’s make a PAWsitive Difference, together!
Explore videos, kindness activities, resources, and other fun ways to get involved!
Until then, be kind to one another.
Toby’s Kindness Mission Team
‘On Toby’s Terms is a wonderful book and Charmaine Hammond has done an amazing job sharing their story of Toby. I completely admire what they have done with Toby – you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll walk away with some great life lessons. I highly recommend this read!’
Jen Panteluk Director of Development Ronald McDonald House® Northern Alberta
The Amazon, international #1, best selling dog book, and now a childrens series of dog books, is about our Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog is soon to become a major motion picture.
Our dog, Toby, is closing in on $11,000 raised for pet charities and SPCA, appeared before 7000 elementary school children and 1500 adults in companys, government agencies and corporations!
Hear Jack Canfield’s thoughts on “On Toby’s Terms (4 minutes into TV interview)”
“Simply a beautiful book about life, love and purpose. “ -Jack Canfield, Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul
The best dog book, makes a great gift for all occasions and holidays!