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When Charmaine and her husband adopted Toby, a five-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. Soon after he entered their lives and home, Toby proved to be a holy terror who routinely opened and emptied the hall closet, turned on water taps, pulled and ate things from the bookshelves, sat for hours on end in the sink, and spent his days rampaging through the house. Oddest of all was his penchant for locking himself in the bathroom, and then pushing the lid of the toilet off the tank, smashing it to pieces. After a particularly disastrous encounter with the knife- block in the kitchen-and when the couple discovered Toby's bloody paw prints on the phone-they decided Toby needed professional help. Little did they know what they would discover about this dog. On Toby's Terms is an endearing story of a beguiling creature who teaches his owners that, despite their trying to teach him how to be the dog they want, he is the one to lay out the terms of being the dog he needs to be. This insight would change their lives forever.
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Charmaine Hammond, a former Correctional Officer and Chartered Mediator, is active on the professional speaker circuit. Media-magnet Toby has won numerous awards including the CHIMO's prestigious Reese Award.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
You never know when your life is going to change.
'Hi, honey,' I said into my cell phone as I unlocked my car. 'I gave my presentation; it went great, and I'm on my way home. How was your day?'
'My day was wonderful . . . until I walked into the house.'
'Uh-oh . . .'
'The place is a total disaster. Your dog knocked over all four dining room chairs, the lamp in the living room, and that little table your mom gave you.'
'My dog?' I sank into the driver's seat, clutching my cell phone, suddenly dreading the three-hour drive from Calgary back to Edmonton because of what I envisioned I'd find when I got home.
'I'm at my wits' end, Char. There's mud and blood everywhere.'
I froze in the act of turning the ignition key. 'Blood?'
'That darned dog climbed on the kitchen counter, knocked over the knife block, and cut two of his feet. Then he tracked blood all over the kitchen, the living room, the hallways, the basement . . .'
'Is he okay?'
'Is he okay? What about me?'
I cringed at the volume of his voice. 'I'm sorry, honey,' I said, visualizing our eighty-five pound Chesapeake Bay retriever walking across the kitchen counter, the sink, and stove, tracking blood. 'How bad are his cuts?'
'Not too bad, but I had to pin him down to get his feet cleaned up and bandage his two front paws. He'll live.' Christopher didn't sound altogether pleased at the prospect.
Under other circumstances, a vision of my normally mild-mannered and easygoing husband chasing our dog through the house might have been amusing. But not now. Apart from the cut feet, which was a new twist, this was not the first—or the second, or the third—disaster we'd faced since bringing Toby into our home a few months earlier. It was peculiar, because for the first few weeks after we got him, things had been quite uneventful. But now one incident led to another.
'There's more,' Chris said. 'He knocked the books and candles off the coffee table and tipped the wooden table in the foyer over so it was blocking the door. I could barely get in. The flower planters were knocked over and so was the water cooler, which had a full canister of water in it this morning, remember? Not now. Now the water's all over our nice hardwood floor. That damn dog tore the boot racks from the closet wall and emptied the contents into the front entrance. He tracked bloody footprints all over the downstairs carpet. The house looks like a crime scene.'
'It can't be that bad.'
'It can't? You wouldn't recognize the kitchen or living room. Char, when I assess all the damage caused by this unruly, incorrigible, untrained, ill-mannered, and soon-to-have-another-home dog . . .'
'Don't say that. I know there have been some problems, but Toby's a great dog in so many ways. He's just got a little problem and we'll fix it.'
'A little problem? You should see the phone in the kitchen. It's bloody, too. Maybe he was trying to call 9-1-1.'
'That's funny, Chris!' I laughed. 'Just hang on, honey. I'll be home soon.'
'Not funny,' my dear husband replied. 'I've had it this time. I'm done with that dog!'
'Please, just hang on. When I get home, I'll help you clean up after my . . . after our dog.'
I heard him release a deep breath. 'We can't keep living on Toby's terms.'
But lately we were.
(Charmaine Hammond On Toby's Terms)
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Book Description Bettie Youngs Book Publishers, 2010. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0984308148
Book Description Bettie Youngs Book Publishers, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. 1. Seller Inventory # DADAX0984308148
Book Description Bettie Youngs Book Publishers, 2010. Print on Demand (Paperback). Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110984308148