Today marks one year since we brought our little doggers home. It took everyone a while to settle in, but I think we've developed a pretty good routine and he seems to love us a great deal.
We have lots of daily rituals. He and I usually go to bed around 10:00 p.m. and he paws at the blanket until I lift it up so he can go underneath and curl up against my ribs.
Right now his inner alarm clock is set for exactly 6:35 a.m., and that's the time he crawls out from under the covers and gives himself a good tag-jingling shake. I grab my glasses and spend a few minutes talking to him and cuddling before we go outside for his morning constitutional.
He gets his breakfast when we go back in and I take him out one more time before I leave for work. He receives a Virbac chew stick as a reward for that piece of doggie business, which keeps him busy while I'm making my way out the door.
Barring long walks, which have fallen by the wayside a little due to a combination of overly hot weather and chronic foot pain on my part, we still have a lot of places to walk up and down our street and one street over. He likes to greet Dolly, the shih-tzu next door. I do my best to steer him away from another neighbor's giant pit bull because Toby doesn't have enough sense not to bark and carry on when we see bigger dogs.
I imagine he sleeps most of the day in his bed on the couch, but sometimes he plays chase with the cats (particularly Dr. Jones and Velvet) or chews his stuffed toys first. My husband gets up in the mid- to late-afternoon and takes him for his next potty break.
Suppertime is a little more complicated. Because my husband and I tend to stay pretty busy in the evenings, Toby gets double-fed more often than is good for him. I think we need something like this to keep track.
If the birth dates listed on his paperwork are correct, he's now nine years old. He's gotten a lot more white hairs in the past year, but I'm sure that the transition from the home he'd had all his life to our house must have been stressful.
The new vet has given him a more or less clean bill of health, but we do need to have his teeth and ears cleaned soon and I'll probably have them remove a couple of small skin growths while he's already out. I hope he gets to keep his few remaining teeth. The poor little guy has so few that his tongue hangs out whenever he's relaxed or sleeping.
House training is still a constant struggle. Some days he's perfect and other days he's inexplicably bad (and sneaky about it, too). Things have gotten a lot better since we instituted a treat reward system, though. He's improved enough that I'm ready to do a good kitchen floor scrubbing and re-sealing of the slate this weekend.
Ultimately, the best thing about having Toby in our lives is the companionship. He loves to hang out with us. He has his own chair in the TV room (stolen from poor Trillian) where he lies so he can be with us while we're watching television. Wherever we are, that's where he wants to be. The cats are like that as well, but the dog takes it up a couple of notches.
I'm glad we're able to be Toby's family in his later years. He's cute, cuddly and a fun little buddy to have.
Happy First Gotcha Day Anniversary, Toby!