Throughout the years I had always loved dogs, but, apartment living simply did not allow the type of dog that I wanted. I wanted an English Mastiff, Newfoundland, Great Dane something along those lines.. until I met “Toke” – a brindle, pit bull chained to a tree. When I would visit my Aunt, I would check to see if Toke was still there.. and day in day out, he was. One day I saw a man outside, near the dog.. it was obvious that he was teasing him.. just staying out of reach or bite and the dog was agitated. Who wouldn’t be? I went over to talk to this jerk and once I realized that this man actually believed that dogs need water every other day, I had just about enough. I thought that I would try to talk to this man, yet, I never learned Jack-Ass in School.. so was unsure if I would be able to communicate with him. A thought about cutting the chain late at night also crossed my mind, but, I was in the sticks and know that those houses are not guarded by Brinks… but, by Smith & Wesson. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do; however, that dog was NOT staying with the Jackass!
After a few days and visits to my Aunt.. I decided that the best thing to do was march over there and just take the dog during the day.. which is exactly what I did. The man came out in great concern, not so much about the dog.. but, about ‘payment’ as now he had a high quality dog in which to sell. I had no reason to think that he had cared for the dog much, if at all and so his ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses were minimal, if at all. I decided to negotiate on a different playing field.. incarceration. He said that he wanted fifty dollars and I said that I would give him fifty dollars, BUT ONLY IF he would then give me fifty dollars to NOT report him to my friend the County Attorney of his area. He thought about it for a moment or two and then decided that I had a deal. I cut the tow chain and took my new dog.
Unfortunately, my new dog had nowhere new to go. I was still living in an apartment and although some allow pets, this one did not. I spent money daily taking him to the kennel before going to work and picking him up on the way home. This went on for several weeks… then, I tried just leaving him home all day; however, his love for people would take over whenever a neighbor would walk out their door and he would howl. Realizing that I could not keep him any longer, I scheduled a surrender appointment with a Pit Bull friendly shelter. I waited that morning with him, crying and feeling so horrible; however, I knew that this was better than his previous locale. I paid the surrender fee and left feeling horrible. Each day I called to see if there was any news.. any news at all; however, nothing. Then after a week’s worth of calls and a lot of wrangling on my part… I went and ‘adopted’ my new dog!
My son was about 7 years old at the time and he wanted nothing to do with this dog. Yet, he was the one that named him. When he asked what his name was, I said “Toke” and my son replied with; Toad? There it was – the dog’s new name. It took a little while; however, my son bonded to that dog or vice versa; however, in truth, I was just the food provider as Toad was truly connected to my son.
We had 8 wonderful years with Toad… as he aged he began to develop fatty-tissue tumors throughout his entire body, some were the size of grapefruits if not bigger; however, they were simply weird-looking nothing more. The amount of tumors distorted his once slick, sturdy body; however, that did not deter him from running his circles, playing or being watchful when need be. He was an absolutely beautiful creature, that, because of breed alone I had to explain to those that were not in the know.
I loved that dog so much that it actually made me sick explaining that he was not a fighter, an eater of children or mean.. he was the softest, most gentle creature on the planet and he truly had no issue with anyone.. with the exception of cats. Toad loved to sit right on you and he truly had a knack for winning anyone’s heart. He was an absolute blessing to us and when we had to say goodbye… I chose a Vet that I had known almost my entire life to help my beloved dog pass into God’s Kingdom.
I have a favorite picture of him on my bed.. just laying with watchful brown eyes. He was one of the greatest creatures this earth has ever seen and I am glad that I was able to double his lifetime … he brought such a love to our family and our home and I will never forget my Toad E. Dog. So, as you can see “Pit Bulls are dangerous”, they’ll steal your heart, take your breath away and love you so much that anyone else’s love will pale in comparison.