The love of a Lhasa apso is passionate, intelligent, and total! If ever one were to doubt the ability of the Lhasa apso to be a dedicated, sensitive, and wise Therapy Dog, The Story of Sandy and Toby will provide proof positive that they, in fact, are perfectly suited for the job.
Every Lhasa apso has a special ability to touch lives. There are not enough pages in the longest book to cover all of the heroic stories surrounding these loyal dogs. For me, Tobalina-Grace's life is one of the most inspiring of these stories and I have chosen it to represent what this breed is all about! Much like Tobalina-Grace, her owner Sandy Spencer was a selfless individual and totally devoted to her loyal Lhasa apso partner. This bond was as deep as it was mutual.
Sandy & Tobalina-Grace
Dogs Are Only In Our Lives For A Short Time, But To Them We Are Their Whole Life!
On Friday, October 11, 2003 Sandy Spencer arrived at Absosengkye Kennel to meet our Lhasa apsos. She chose an almost 10 week old little party color girl, a ball of fluff and full of life. She named her Tobalina-Grace. It was love at first sight and Sandy enthusiastically brought her home to begin their journey together.
Thanks to Sandy's husband Steve I have learned what a gift Tobalina was to them both as well as to so many others.
So, here we go back in time as Sandy's husband recounts the real story of Sandy and Toby.
Sandy had complete kidney failure due to a blood disease that was only present when there was renal function. The onset of this was at the birth of her daughter. She was put on dialysis treatment three times a week for fourteen years. This was an almost unheard of length of time for renal patients. During that time she had also received two kidney transplants of which neither were sucessful. I (Steve, her husband) was present for her second transplant and was just as devastated she when the kidney would not function. Despite all of the disappointment Sandy's outlook on life was that even though she had this "issue", it was not going to stop her from living her life like everyone else.
Sandy refused to stop working a job, going places she wanted to go or helping others however she could. Every year she would do volunteer work for the Make a Wish Foundation, her favorite Charity. Her daughter and I were often volunteered to participate in her charities. We did not mind because it was something she believed in with all of her heart.
Sandy decided she wanted another child but due to her medical issues this was not an option. We had even looked into fostering and adopting, but ran into roadblocks there as well. Sandy, was a little discouraged by all this, but her being the person that she was, made up her mind she was not going to be defeated and after a short time decided to do the next best thing and get a dog. We did a lot of looking but she just didn't find the right one for her. She knew what she was looking for and I knew that when she found it she would know. This brings us to October 11, 2002.
Now that Sandy had chosen Toby or maybe Toby chose Sandy, the training for both of them began upon. Sandy was so proud of her precious "Toby" and took her everywhere, showing her off to everyone she encountered. Sandy began purchasing clothes for her princess shortly after bringing her home. Her purchases included Pajamas, a denim shirt, hoodies and various other items that soon added up to an impressive collection. I thought it was sort of funny but if that was what she wanted it was fine with me. Sandy even enrolled Toby in puppy socialization classes as well as obedience training classes, both of which Toby took to eagerly.
Sandy had trouble with dialysis access from time to time and would need to go to the hospital to have things corrected. This was the same hospital that Sandy worked at, so she would often bring Toby there with her and the staff got to know her well. During one of her "procedures", Toby & I had been waiting near Sandy's room when she was given a new drug to which she had an adverse reaction. Suddenly Toby became very restless and started growling and barking as if something was around that she didn't like. I realized something was wrong and it didn't take very long to figure out that she had picked up on Sandy's reaction. After Sandy was released, we discussed this and following some testing and training Toby became a Certified Seizure Awareness Dog. It became the highlight of Sandy's life. This was early in 2004. Toby had a zest for life and now she had a purpose, which she carried out very well. While Toby would run and play, chasing squirrels and kids around the playground, once her service vest was put on her, she became a very different dog. She was very well behaved wherever she was and would only listen to her master. It was really amazing to me as I had never been around such a well behaved animal.
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