Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review: On Toby’s Terms, by Charmaine Hammond

I have a lot of admiration for Charmaine Hammond. She has the patience of a saint! What would you do if you adopted a dog who regularly destroyed your house, barked very loudly, and got blood all over your home when he got into the knife block? Most people, after a few weeks of this, would probably return the dog and count themselves lucky that they didn’t have to put up with this horrendous behavior. But Charmaine and her husband Chris saw a lot of potential in Toby, a five-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever. Instead of giving up on Toby, they became determined to find the source of his odd quirks and habits and figure out ways to help Toby better handle himself. After all, despite his unusual “issues,” Toby was a very loving and intelligent dog that was a joy to be around.

Through the help of an animal behaviorist, who helped the couple understand why Toby was acting out, and obedience classes, Toby’s “episodes” became less frequent. Although they never went completely away, Charmaine and Chris developed strategies for coping with them and more tolerance for Toby’s behavior. One of the biggest factors in Toby’s transformation was getting a job! Yes, Toby found new purpose in life when he became a therapy pet at a mental health hospital. It was a match made in heaven. Toby’s presence truly changed the lives and health of many of the hospital’s residents, and Toby was clearly proud of his position as the hospital’s most popular visitor!

Charmaine Hammond tells this remarkable story in her book, On Toby's Terms. Her love for Toby clearly shines through in every page. Ultimately, Toby taught Charmaine and Chris so much about living in the moment and savoring life. Charmaine writes, “Toby begins each day with gratitude and forgiveness and a willingness to start anew. This has become my waking attitude as well.” In the end, Charmaine and Chris became the students, while Toby had become the teacher. Visit

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my candid review. No financial compensation was received. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon links in this post.


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