Toby, Tucson, AZ

Hi! My name is Toby. I am a 7-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier, and this is my story!

I have been a truly blessed dog. I wasn’t abused, I didn’t have to live on the street, and I have lived with my family for most of my life. I don’t think I would have the life I have now, if my parents had not purchased me.

My Mom was only 20 when she decided that she wanted another dog. She already had a little one that she rescued but she got him when he was older (someone didn’t want him anymore) and my parents wanted a puppy! So she started looking around and found an ad for 8-week-old American Staffordshire Terriers.

She called and according to the lady, it was an accidental litter. So she made an appointment and came over to see the puppies. When they got to the house, they played with the other puppies and I was in the other room in a crate. I cried and cried because I so badly wanted to get out and see these new people and give them all of my love.

Finally, the lady decided to let Mom see me after talking me up. She told Mom that she had purchased me from another breeder and that she decided she didn’t want to breed me. Mom and Dad were pretty confused because she had said she was not a breeder and it was a whole different story when they got there.

Needless to say, I was 30 pounds of love all over them when I finally got out of that kennel. :-)

My Dad is pretty fond of telling everyone how they just nodded at each other and decided to take me home.  They just knew something wasn’t right. They paid $150 for me, only to find out I had no shots  and had never seen a vet! But they didn’t care.

They bundled me up and I got to sit on my new Mom’s lap in the front seat as I was still pretty little then. When I got to my new home I got to meet my new brother! Then we all went to Petco where they spent a fortune on me and all of my new things. I got to sleep in the bed even!

But I also did something funny: I started walking around like I was drunk and my head started to twitch funny. Mom called the vet and the lady that she bought me from. The lady was mean and told Mom that it wasn’t her problem anymore and hung up. The vet saw me the next day but said that I looked fine and spent some time monitoring me.

One night about a month after I moved to my new home, Mom noticed I did my drunk walk again. Concerned, she called me to her and I didn’t respond. Then I laid down on the kitchen floor and had my first grand mal seizure.

Mom was home alone and she was very scared because I stopped breathing. She thought for sure I was going to die. Mom works with disabled people so she is trained in human CPR  but she had no idea how to do it on dogs. But she tried and whatever she did saved my life. I started to breath again and mom scooped me up and ran to the car in her slippers and PJs and drove me to the emergency vet.

Long story short, I had seizures on and off for 4 months before they diagnosed me with epilepsy. They thought I would grow out of it, but I never did. I take medicine for it every day and my parents always worry about me.

I have a pretty awesome family! Since Mom works with disabled people, I am always exposed to all kinds of people. Dad is the snuggler — I keep him comfy while we watch TV after he gets home from work.

I have two very special people in my life: Mom’s brother Cris who has Down Syndrome and Dad’s sister Heather who has Spina Bifida! I always enjoy seeing them. Cris is always ready to play with me and give me some great snuggles, and Heather even learned to walk me on the leash after she wasn’t afraid of me anymore — which is amazing because for a while there it was speculated she was going to lose her ability to walk!

We now try to educate everyone we can about spaying and neutering their pets, about over-breeding and puppy mills. My bestfriend Moose the Doxie was one of Mom’s rescues from a puppy mill. We won’t stop until there is no more life left in our bodies!

I can’t say that I have done anything grand, but I am an advocate for my breed. Our whole family stands proud knowing that I am a good dog, I love my family and have changed many people’s opinions on their stance against us.

I am the proud owner of a kitten, and my bestfriend is a Dachshund named Moose, I have epilepsy, I snore in my sleep, but most of all I am not a monster! :-)

Love,
Toby

p.s. I have a new veterinarian after moving away from our little town in Wisconsin. She informed my parents that what my old vet said about my over-breeding being the possible cause of my epilepsy was actually false information. So my parents did a some research, talked with a another vet and she was right! They don’t actually know the cause of my seizures but having a better understanding of them has helped my parents control them better. To learn more about Canine Epilepsy, go to Canine Epilepsy Network and of course, talk to your vet and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.

Parent: Rachel

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