Friday, February 4, 2011


Toby was a big boxer/bulldog/something else mix who lived in our neighborhood, when I was in junior high.  As a matter of fact, he belonged to my 7th and 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Clarke, and her husband.

Often, Mr. Clarke would take Toby across the street to an open lot and play fetch.  But, instead of throwing a tennis ball, or a stick, Mr. Clarke would throw a regulation football. Toby would catch the football on his mouth, and return it.  He had the biggest mouth I have ever seen on a dog.

One day, I was riding my bicycle down one of the neighborhood streets, when Toby came streaking out of nowhere and started chasing me down the road.  I wasn't scared of him, and actually liked him, but I really didn't want him to catch me, either.  He had chased me, before, and I was never really sure what his intent was, should he catch me.

This particular day, though, he was faster than I was.  I was pedaling furiously, but Toby kept closing on me.  Eventually, he caught me and clamped that huge mouth of his onto my foot...and the pedal of my bike.  It was like having a canine toe strap holding my foot to the pedal.

I was still pedaling, as he was chomping on my foot, and his head was going up and down, around and around, with the pedal stroke as he ran along with me.  He never bit down hard enough to cause any pain, through my shoe, but he was holding firmly on.

Eventually, he tired of the game and let go of my foot.  When he did, I slowed down, and Toby just ran along beside me with his tongue hanging out and a big, goofy dog-grin on his face.

I don't recall him ever chasing me, again, after that.  He went out of the game as a winner.

Good dog, Toby!


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