Pi Patel January 6, 2004-October 24, 2016
Tobias (Toby) June 6, 2003-October 9, 2017
My knowledge of Miniature Schnauzers does not stem from a veterinarian degree, the creds of a Westminster dog handler or even a certified dog behaviourist title. I am blessed with this knowledge due to the good old fashion home schooled experience of living with two of the greatest mini’s on earth!
Toby and Pi Patel, as of this writing, are eight and seven years old, and weigh 25 and 24 pounds respectively. Both are salt and pepper, non-shedding, stubborn and barky. Although they may share the same outward characteristics, their unique personalities and habits set them apart.
Pi Patel is vain, likes to swim, and is the neighbourhood bully that uses his bark not his bite. Small dog owners run across the street with their precious cargo in hand when they see Pi Patel. Using dog speak, he will unleash a fury of ominous grunts and falsetto growls, which do not require translation. Big dog owners do not cross the street but laugh at the commotion as they walk by, barely able to control their pits or rotties from attempting to inform Pi of his place in the animal dog kingdom.
Toby is sensitive to human moods, emotions and sickness. Using his big soulful eyes he will search my face and cuddle by my side if I am upset and not leave until all is well. Mom had a serious illness and prior to our discovering it; Toby followed her throughout the house velcroed to her legs. He continued this vigil through the diagnosis and up to the last dose of chemo then quietly resumed his normal household activities -searching for food scraps in the kitchen and barking at the squirrels through the backyard window.
I realized Toby had a gift. His calming presence and willingness to give comfort would work with a visitation program. We enrolled as a team in a dog therapy-training course hosted at a local church. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this church along with Toby’s enthusiasm at learning within this space would later have a great impact upon my faith.
Toby mastered the course and we began our visits to a nursing home. His empathy and presence were infectious and residents clustered around him. His visits were especially meaningful to some of the dementia patients who did not talk on a normal basis but would at the sight and company of Toby.
Their vet of seven years refers to Toby as the “Gentleman” for his polite mannerisms during exams. He will not cry during a shot, exam or temperature reading. Pi Patel she calls a “Punk”, a name he has earned for his incorrigible barking and scratching at her legs until he gets a biscuit. He will SCREAM to the gods during a temperature reading!
Toby and Pi Patel are my minis as I know and love.
March 30, 2011
Tobias and Pi Patel recently walked the showroom of Mulberry’s Autumn /Winter collection modeling doggy ware line. Pictures to be posted as soon as available!
Some outtakes from the Press Show