When Charmaine Hammond and her husband saw Toby for the first time they were smitten.
They had worked through their grief over the death of their last dog, Dooks, and were ready to welcome another dog into their lives.
“Look, it’s a Chesapeake Bay retriever,” Chris said, “just like the one we saw at
the SPCA. His name is Toby, he’s five years old, and he’s in a rescue agency in
Sherwood Park, so he’s a local.”
I looked at the picture of a big, dark-brown dog with floppy ears and a white
spot on his chest and felt drawn to him instantly. Who could resist a dog who
smiled for the camera?
So Charmaine and her husband adopted Toby.
They figured he might need some adjusting time, but they certainly didn’t count
on what he’d do in the meantime. For the first few weeks he was well-behaved,
an absolute joy. And then one day he did what must have seemed like a Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde switch.
He became a holy terror who routinely opened and emptied the hall closet, turned
on water taps, pulled and ate things from the bookshelves, sat for hours on
end in the sink, and spent his days rampaging through the house. Oddest of all
was his penchant for locking himself in the bathroom, and then pushing the lid
of the toilet off the tank, smashing it to pieces. After a particularly disastrous
encounter with the knife-block in the kitchen— and when the couple discovered
Toby’s bloody paw prints on the phone—they decided Toby needed professional help.
They learned that Toby needed a purpose, and so they set out to create
specific jobs for Toby. When I interviewed Charmaine Hammond, she shared details
of what Toby taught her and her husband about the importance of life purpose.
Charmaine Hammond is an international transformational speaker, helping
people live inspired, resilient lives and is a leading trainer in corporate
North America helping transform workplaces. She is also an award winning
and bestselling author of On Toby’s Terms (Bettie Youngs Books, Sept.
2010), Toby The Pet Therapy Dog – and his hospital friends (Bettie Youngs
Books, Aug. 2011). Her book On Toby’s Terms is currently in development to
become a major motion picture! She has been featured on CBC, CTV, Global
TV, 820 CHAM, Alberta Prime Time News, many major newspapers, and in
To hear the full interview with Charmaine, click What I Learned About Life from My Dog–Charmaine Hammond
Then enjoy the poem I wrote during my elementary school years about our childhood dog, Rex.
A DOG NAMED REX
by Flora Morris
Maybe you have had troubles
Which have caused worry and vex,
But your worries have only begun
When you’ve met my dog, Rex.
I wouldn’t say Rex was a good dog,
Although he obeys only Dad.
And he’s not really a bad dog,
But the opposite of good is bad.
Rex is very much like a human
For he enjoys the good things in life
Why! I even think now he has in mind
Finding himself a wife.
Quite naturally, he likes food
Such as fruit which has been diced,
But his favorite is roast turkey,
Well done and highly spiced
Although he’s a dog,
Dog food to him is a hex
No matter what the brand,
No doggish foods for Rex.
And speaking of drinks
He likes tea and cool-aid,
And strong drinks like champagne,
Strictly of a high grade.
There are many dogs in the world,
And now that I’ve presented my text
I ask you, have you ever seen
A dog to compare with Rex?
Do you have memories of a beloved pet who made an impact on your life? I would love to be your partner in fetching those memories to share the lessons you learned about life in your book. If you are ready to begin, pop me an email right now with “READY” in the subject line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your phone number and the best time to call you.
I’m going over to check for your email right now.