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FROM READERS: Mourning for a beloved friend

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:59 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 6, 2014
Missourian Reader John Hall's dog Toby that died on Wednesday. The 11-year old cocker spaniel was loved by everyone of John Hall's family.

John Hall frequently photographs his mid-Missouri surroundings, and he has been sharing his images with the Missourian for several years.

This morning required getting up long before the sun ever thought about rising to head off for breakfast. Toby, the dog with the leash handle in his mouth, left this world on Wednesday. Any time Toby was in a situation that was stressful or if he just wanted to go, he'd find that leash handle and bring it to whoever was around and was saying "I'm getting out of here."

He was the son of Skye, shown in many of the photos I shared over the years of the English Cockers on picture-taking trips with me.

Skye

Skye, Toby's father, stretches out on the deck.

Skye is survived by his son Thor, who was the big guy in the litter of pups born to Miss Daisy (she never took on her married name) on January 1, 1993.

Miss Daisy

Miss Daisy, Toby's mother, died in August 2010.

Toby was the runt but probably the most impish and smartest one of the litter. He never went to college, but had he done so he would have carried a 4.0 grade point average and would have succeeded at anything he attempted.

Toby was loved by everyone, even the newest member of the family, my granddaughter Ralphie. She loved petting him, which she did for quite some time the night before his passing.

Last evening my eldest grandson told me to meet him and his brothers and dad for breakfast at Steak 'n Shake this morning. After ordering breakfast you can see the coffee cups being held high in a toast to Toby. We all ordered something that Toby would have eaten. We could have ordered anything and it would have been something that character would have consumed with great gusto. My oldest grandson ordered chocolate chip pancakes in memory of his friend. Dogs shouldn't eat chocolate, you say. That's right, but many times Toby would somehow sneak ways to get into it. Tony, my oldest grandson, and the father of Ralphie, held his arms high as he finished off a plate of those pancakes. A drop in blood sugar will probably hit him in mid-morning.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.

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