Tweedsmuir Iceburg at Whissgig better known as Toby
I am very sad to say that Toby passed to the Rainbow Bridge. He had been suffering from lymphangiectasia and a failed pancreas for the last 12 months. Roughly a week before he passed he developed diabetes as well. This had been expected as a side effect of the strong steroids he had been on which were holding these two diseases in remission. In the last few days he had stopped eating (couldn’t be tempted by anything) and had being sleeping a vast majority of the time.
He was my first Clumber. My wife for a long time had wanted to show dogs and had settled on a Sussex Spaniel. As I accompanied her to all of her shows, I decided that I would like to show a dog as well and I looked around on gundog days to see what breed appealed to me (and would fit in with the family). After looking at several breeds and after several discussions with Andy Shaw I decided on a Clumber.
Toby and I learnt many things together. We would go to the weekly ringcraft class at our local society and learn the best ways to show a Clumber. He taught me patience when after something upset him at a show the need to restore his confidence in judges and in the end he knew what was expected of him and would almost put himself in a stand without me having to change his stance at all. I could even let go of the lead when the judge went over him. We never achieved great things in the ring, we had the very occasional first in a Championship breed class, more firsts and Best of Breeds at Open Shows, but I always went home with the best dog.
He used to love the Salisbury Plains at various times through the year finding the areas with the most burrs or the muddiest puddles. Like most Clumber boys he was a mud-magnet! His favourite trick was to find various bits of decomposing deer legs in the undergrowth (rejected by other predators) and proudly carry them on his walk on the plains.
We found out about the diabetes just over a week before he passed and I was delighted that last weekend we could fit in one last walk on Salisbury Plain when the weather was sunny and dry and he had a great time with all the sniffs he hadn’t had for a while.
I also have some lovely pictures of Toby when he came across a deer head and antlers in Southwick Country Park (our local park). Of course this was a discarded Christmas item and was cloth with bright red antlers, but he proudly dragged it around the park and wouldn’t let it go!
He was only just over 6, maybe less than half the age I might have hoped he would live for. I have enjoyed this time with him and I have learnt a lot from Toby. Cross the bridge and meet your Clumber friends. Run free without your earthly shackles. Enjoy.
Your loving owner