Tony was born on Valentine's Day, February 14th, 2006 and passed away quietly in his sleep either shortly before midnight on May 2nd or in the very early hours of May 3rd, 2022. (My intuition tells me it was the 3rd.)
My sister who was in the Coast Guard purchased him as a birthday gift for my younger brother when Tony was 2 months old in April of 2006 and Tony and I quickly bonded more than anyone else in the family.
He was the kindest, gentlest, sweetest dog who did not bark-except maybe once or twice in his life when someone was arguing in the house or he felt stressed. Tony liked peace.
He was an English Cocker Spaniel who was black with a white stomach and some white around the tip of his nose and somewhat sad brown eyes.
He loved to be scratched and pet, especially on the inside of his floppy ears, sides of his face, and underneath the chin. He liked when I would get close to his face and talk to him in our own baby-talk language.
Tony was also a therapy dog for Furever Friends which was an organization where young children would read to qualified dogs and Tony was one of those dogs. It was to help children who had reading problems or were apprehensive about reading in front of people and so the kids would read to dogs since dogs just listen and do not judge. This, in turn, builds kids self-esteem in their reading abilities. Tony loved being a therapy dog and the kids.
Once Tony woke me up in the middle of my sleep to let me know something was wrong. Once I realized he was telling me the gas from the oven had been left on and the smell of gas was everywhere in the house, he potentially saved our lives. This was just one of a couple of times Tony kept me and others out of harm's way.
Tony was a sport for being dressed up for Halloween or on his birthday, sporting heart-shaped ears for Valentine's Day or a party hat.
I bought him personalized vanilla birthday cakes for his 14th, 15th, and 16th birthday and we all sang to him which he seemed to love and enjoy. Eating the cake after we blew out the candles was something he liked even more.
Speaking of food, besides dry healthy dog food, he loved fine cuts of beef like steak, filet mignon, prime rib, turkey, chicken, roast beef, pizza, and Chinese food (he really liked fortune cookies). He liked beef jerky too and beef flavored dog treats. Even more than meats, he seemed to have a real sweet tooth with cookies, cakes, chocolates (which we kept to a bare minimum), jelly beans, water ice, etc. Maybe because he was born on Valentine's Day which is associated with candy is the reason he liked candy or maybe because he was just sweet or was all heart!
He loved getting toys and treats and when we would come home with bags from the grocery store, he would assume we got him at least 1 toy, and we usually did. Sometimes if he did not get a toy, he would put his nose and face through the bags looking for a toy. He especially loved toys that had a squeaker in them and would quickly make a little hole in the toy, rip out the white stuffing, and then pull out the squeaker and bit on the squeaker until the squeaker had a hole in it and it could not squeak anymore. (I think he had fun and took pride in his ability to get that squeaker and get it quickly.) When he reached out 13 or 14 he no longer bothered to pull out the squeaker as he was getting older and more tired.
He liked to play tug of war as well with me with rope toys and I normally let him win to make him feel better and so he would not hurt his mouth. (He would friendly/play growl while doing tug of war over a toy).
Tony loved going to the local Logan Township park and used to go fetch a tennis ball and bring it back to me to throw again. We did that until he was 12 or 13 when he pulled a hamstring in his back leg while fetching the ball, then we took it easy and took walks in the park. He would run or walk around and all the kids and adults would pet him and the other dogs seemed to love him too with his gentle approach.
Tony would chase squirrels in the backyard when he was younger but never caught one. In his younger years, I would take him on a chain for a walk in the back woods near the stream which he loved or across the street in the lot and we would cut through broken fences near the shopping center to find cool wandering spots. And I took him for a walk on a cool trail by the lake until I realized there were too many snakes back there. Tony liked all the seasons but he really liked the snow and to put his nose in the snow. He liked laying and sleeping on the bathroom floors at night, especially as he got older, since it was cooler for his body.
Despite Tony's love of being outside and taking rides, he was mainly a homebody who was used to his routines. He knew when it was time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And if you did not give him his lunch or dinner on time, he would let you know it by starring at you and giving you that look-especially for dinner. One time for dinner I gave him something small and lousy and he kept looking at me like, Oh no, this will not do-where is my real dinner? He was funny. In his last year or two alive, he knew when it was time for his bedtime and if I was not ready to go upstairs to bed, he would sometimes just go up to bed by himself and lay in his spot. Similarly, if we went out to eat dinner and left Tony alone he would often go up to his spot in the bedroom and go to sleep instead of wait for us. He was very funny and mature like that.
Tony liked jumping up on the couch to look out the window to see the front yard, people walk by, or the birds and rabbits or to go sleeping on the couch until about 14 years old or so where he could not longer jump on a couch or bed so he would just lay on the floor.
As Tony got older we would let him in the unfenced backyard to do his business and he would often look back to see if we were watching him and if we were watching him then he would not venture too far on other neighbors' properties but if we were not (or he thought we were not looking) he would stray further than he was supposed to. One time when he was about 15 he was alone in the backyard and he spotted a deer close to him so they just stared at each other for a few minutes(at least 5 minutes) then Tony continued to walk toward the house, then Tony stopped and looked back again to stare at the deer a little more then continued inside. It was very funny.
Tony loved car rides, especially to the park and the pet store where I would sometimes get him a toy or bone and he could smell all the pets that had been there or who were there. He could tell when I took him to get a haircut or to the vet's office in which case he sometimes got scared and gave some resistance.
I once took him to Stone Harbor to walk on the beach but he walked away from the ocean toward the dunes and was not a fan of the water but he did like walking around the town itself.
When I would bathe him I would take him in the shower with me and he did not like going in the shower but once we were in there and he was being washed, I could tell he liked it. And once I took him in a swimming pool so he could experience it and he freaked out so I took him out right away since he was panicking(so sorry little buddy).
Sometimes we would go to a pet communicator/psychic at the pet store nearby and Tony enjoyed that and it was a way for me to understand what Tony wanted to communicate to me or how he was feeling.
When Tony was done eating (especially something that left sauce on his face), he had a funny way of walking and tilting his face into the carpet as he dropped his body to the rug and would wipe and clean his face on the rugs (good thing the rugs were dark).
Tony had the sweetest ways about him. In the morning when he woke up he would always come over to me and put his nose or head in my hand to say hello or touch my leg with his nose to say hello before he went to the door to go outside. And when he came upstairs to go to bed, and if I were already up there in another room, he would always stop by my room and wait outside my room until I opened it to give him a kiss before he went off to his little bed. He was/is the greatest. Oh how I miss him already a day after his passing.
Around 14 Tony had bad arthritis to the point where he would cry and scream if he was laying down and tried to get up. Thanks to Dr. Varnold and the medication he was on the rest of his life, he was ok with that and the pain stopped.
In early April of 2022, Tony was diagnosed with an enlarged heart that was drowning in fluid. Tony let me know something was wrong. After medication was prescribed, he lost the fluid, could breathe better but could only eat liquid foods. Despite the liquid foods and medications, he became very senile, incontinent, and could not stand the next few weeks. He was a fighter and tried his best but GOD had a plan for him. And although I had intended to put him down the next day, Tony and/or GOD did me the service and spared me the pain by letting Tony pass in his sleep.
In summation, Tony was and is my best friend and even though I had dogs growing up, none were even close to Tony in terms of kindness, gentleness, companionship, loyalty, affection, etc. I miss his doggy smell and his bozo breath (ohhhh-in a good way Tony) when he would kiss me. He was with me in this human domain for 16 years and I know he will be with me for eternity guiding me throughout my journey- letting me know that he is there with me and protecting me and keeping my out of harm's way by being my guardian angel! That's what best buds furever do for each other! Right Tone? Ohhhhhh. Little man of the desert sand. Ohhhhhhh. I hope you reunite with Twigs- you know, your first love! Ohhhhhhhhh
Don't forget to visit me Tony and give me signs you are ok and protect me!