Finding My Forever Home — Toto's Tale

It was cold. My paws felt frozen to the cement patio even though 16 of us were jammed together for warmth. Summer was the opposite — unbearably hot. It smelled bad too. My favorite time was mealtime, although my “friends” would squeeze me out, and I often got trampled in the pile. My 6 pounds could not compete with their 60, but I never gave up. Barking became my specialty. My vertical jump wasn’t bad either. Anything to help me get attention was worth it — otherwise, I would remain cold and hungry.

One fall day, everything changed. People in uniforms arrived at the house, and we were

all carried away in wire cages to a warm place called 4 Precious Paws Rescue. The people there were nice. They gave us food, toys, medicine, a warm bath, and lots of love. It was wonderful — except for the shots and the big pills, that is. I didn’t like waking up with my private parts missing either! But I felt safe, and my tummy started to feel better despite the worms inside. The medicine worked on the outside too, and the little bugs started to go away. I got lots of attention, and my small size was actually a benefit here as I often cuddled and rested in many people’s laps. I could get used to this, I thought. Would this be my new home?

I soon learned that dream was too good to be true. Not long after all the shots and medicine, we were again loaded up in our wire cages. This time we ended up in a place with tons of dog stuff -- food, toys, treats. People kept picking me up, making me very nervous. I didn’t know what to think. Who were these strangers?

But my worries began to drift away with the touch and comforting words from one of those people. As she cradled me in her arms I looked up, and I liked the smile glancing

back at me. She had brown eyes like mine, and she continued rubbing my tummy and told me how sweet I was. She didn’t even know me! There was another stranger, too, who my lady called her daughter — she snuggled with me too. When they found out my name was Toto, the daughter said with assurance, “Looks like you found your dog, Mom!”

The next thing I knew I landed in a cart, not a cage, traveling around the store with all kinds of goodies being loaded into it. Soon I was surrounded by toys, treats, food, and even a bed! Was this all for me? I couldn’t wait to find out!

That was over a year ago, and today I couldn’t be happier. I’ve traded a cold patio in for a

comfy bed. I’ve calmed down at mealtimes and don’t bark as much — there’s no one else around so I don’t have to (although I still hide my toys and treats just in case). We go on walks every day to explore my new neighborhood, and I even met some new friends along the way. And the cuddling … well, it never stops.

Sure, I still have a lot to learn, but the bottom line is that I feel loved like I have never felt before. What started on a cold patio ended on a lap — Oz’s lap. And, as I look up at her eyes now, I know that the journey of Toto and Oz has just begun!

Indeed, there’s no place like home.

To learn more about Oz and Toto’s adventures, follow us on Facebook at OzandToto or visit our website at

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