Toby ("Tobius") - By David Hakim

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Toby

I had reached the age of 70, wondering why I was blessed with a fairly long life.

I had accomplished much although my greatest dreams were not realized.

Life lost most of its glamour and appeal, and although I was not waiting for death,

I saw no reason to live.  I had time to accomplish,

Yet so many opportunities had turned into duties:

The expansion of my business and preparation of its tax form;

The unfinished basement ceiling; the phone bill for the Census;

The sorting, filing, or tossing of mail.  I ceased counting the joys of living.

Perhaps my need to take blood pressure medication

Lessened my ability to relate intimately with my spouse.

In the mornings I felt too weak to meet humanity and felt lonely.

One day Judy thought I was going to die so she forced me to go to the hospital.

Depression and despondency set in so I sought counseling. 

My therapist was and is a genius.  In no time my acute depression lessened,  

Yet I was still depressed and something was missing from my life.

I suggested obtaining a dog to replace my long lost canine friend Hershey.

She was delighted.  She had a dog, and knew the joys a four legged creature could bring.

Yet I felt so inadequate, incompetent and fearful that it took a while

To accept the challenge the care of another creature would entail. 

I told an acquaintance I wanted a dog.  She insisted I contact a canine adoption agency.

I went to one.  One of the dogs, a black, fluffy creature

With zest for living, named Melody, attracted my interest. 

I could not bring myself around to take her home, so in time someone else adopted her.

I kept on looking and inquiring.  A feline adoption agency suggested

I contact another canine adoption agency, which I did.

The first dog shown was another black, fluffy creature

With a tremendous zest for living.  I asked to see another. 

In trots Toby.  He is a beautiful, white, bishon frise that looks more like a poodle

Except that he does not have long ears.  He was laid back and fearful,

Yet our attraction was mutual.  He was smaller than the rest,

So I knew I could carry him if he became immovable.

I adopted him. 

In no time he showed his love for me.  He cuddles close to me

And looks adoringly into my eyes.  Yet he has an attitude.

For some reason, perhaps because of abuse, he growls and snaps,

Sometimes even at me.  I take him for walks, yet I have had to pull him.

Yet the intimacy he brought into my life brings me joy.

He is my constant companion with hardly a complaint.

I take him wherever I go, and he makes unendurable moments endurable. 

Yet I am sometimes envious because a gifted animal owner

Can do tricks with Toby that I cannot.

One such individual started calling him “Tobius,”

And he now prefers to be called that name.

I contemplate going to see a trainer, yet I hesitate.

Not because I do not think Tobius can learn,

But because I am fearful I cannot,

And the thought of having to patiently work with him

Seems beyond my capabilities.

Yet during the writing of this poem he has been near my feet,

And giving me the companionship I have yearned for so long. 
 

                        David C. Hakim

                        Rochester, Michigan

                        July 24, 2005