Sunday 25 November 2012

Book ~ "On Toby's Terms" (2011) Charmaine Hammond

From Goodreads ~ On Toby's Terms is an endearing story of a beguiling creature who teaches his owners that in spite of their trying to teach him how to be the dog they wanted, it was Toby who laid out the terms of being the dog he needed to be. 

When Charmaine and her husband adopted Toby, a five-and-a-half-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, they figured he might need some adjusting time but they certainly didn't count on what he'd do in the meantime. Turns out that Toby was a holy terror, beset by severe anxiety and destructive behavior that would take a miracle to curb: he routinely opened and emptied the hall closet, turned on water taps, knocked over the water cooler, pulled and ate things from the bookshelves, and spent his days rampaging through the house, knocking down everything in his path. Oddest of all was his penchant for locking himself in the bathroom, and then push the lid of the toilet tank onto the floor, smashing it to pieces. After a particularly disastrous encounter with the knife-block in the kitchen (and when the couple discovered Toby's blood and paw prints on the phone) Charmaine decided Toby needed professional help. Little did she know what they would discover about this dog.

I love dogs and reading stories about them!

This is the true story of Toby, a Chesapeake Bay retriever, who was adopted by Charmaine and Christopher when Toby was five years old.  Toby's original owners were an elderly couple.  When the husband died, the wife couldn't handle such an energetic young dog and put him up for adoption.  Though Toby lands in a loving home with Char and Chris, he's still grieving the loss of his owners and adjusting to his new home.  As such, he has severe anxiety issues which causes him to be destructive when left alone.

Charmaine and Chris consult an animal behaviourist who suggests they find Toby a job ... this job results in Char and Toby volunteering every Wednesday in a pet-assisted therapy program.  Toby's good nature makes him perfect for this job ... everyone loves him and Toby loves everyone!

This inspires Char to submit Toby's story to Chicken Soup for the Soul:  What I Learned from the Dog and it's accepted.  Toby becomes a celebrity in Alberta (his home province) and across Canada and helps bring awareness to the causes that Char and Toby support.

I enjoyed the writing style.  It was well-paced.  And I liked Char, Chris and especially Toby.  Though they run out of patience at times, you can tell how much Char and Chris love love love Toby and strive to make it work.  As Toby becomes less destructive, Char and Chris learn valuable lessons of patience and things don't have to be perfect all the time.  Instead you should relax, accept things and enjoy the ride.

I'd recommend this book to all dog lovers (and everyone else)!

Though Toby passed away in the fall of 2011, you can still check out his website, blog and Facebook page ... his memory lives on.

I received a copy of this book at no charge from the author in exchange for my honest review. 


Charmaine said...

Thank you so much Teena for reading On Toby's Terms and providing such a thorough review, and sharing it with your readers and followers.
Charmaine Hammond,

Teena in Toronto said...

Excellent book :)

John Mutford said...

A few years ago one Canadian Book Challenge participant choose all dog books to reach her 13. She'd have liked this one.

Teena in Toronto said...

13 Canadian dog books? That sounds awesome, John!!