When I got home from work last night, Toby broke habit and actually got out of bed to greet me.
Allison was up, so I was in her room feeding her. Toby appeared, silhouetted in the doorway from the light at the other end of the hallway, and just sort of stood there for a minute. Then he ambled in, much slower than usual, and dropped down at my feet, resting his head on my toes.
That afternoon, Toby had gone to the vet for a few vaccinations. I knew he would likely be sore, but this time they really slowed him down. When Jerry had called to say goodnight, he told me that Toby was so tired and out of it that he had opted to skip a walk. That would be like a gambling addict passing up on a winning lottery ticket.
After I set Alli back down in her crib and went to close the door, Toby didn't even attempt to move. So I walked over, picked him up as gingerly as possible, and placed him on the floor in the hallway.
We sat there for awhile, just me and him, and he was shaking. His ears were back. He couldn't even sit the way he normally prefers because his legs ached. Everything about his body language made me pain for him -- our usually exuberant, energetic, crazy dog.
For Toby, the night was long. He got up with Jerry at 4 a.m., but had trouble making it down the steps. Jerry placed him back into bed with me, knowing he'd never make the leap on his own, but then he just sort of limped around and eventually found a spot in the crook of my knees.
In the morning, I knew it was bad when a doorbell rang on TV and Toby didn't even lift his head, let alone growl and bark and look at the door as if it had just slapped him in the face.
As the day has progressed, he's starting to show signs of improvement, but it reminds me to appreciate Toby's young, chaotic days before they're all gone.
The next time he digs a dirty sock out of the laundry basket, I'll probably just smile.