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The Four-Legged Side of Military Life

Tia Johnson
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tagged: military life
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Photo Credits: Tia Johnson and Holly Hoad of Winter's Splendor Photography

It’s hard to type with no opposable thumbs, but I felt like it was time someone represented the four legged side of Army life. My name is Toby and I’m an Army Woof (not to be confused with Army Wife) and a soldier’s best friend.

I chose Dave and Tia as my new owners just about three years ago. They like to tell people that they ‘rescued’ me but I don’t see it that way. I could tell they needed me in their lives. That was the spring of 2010 in Memphis, TN and I showed up the day they moved back to stay with Tia’s parents until Dave finished Basic Training. I have to admit that I was not looking or feeling my best when we first met…hair over my eyes, untrimmed nails and breath so bad… even I was ashamed. I don’t remember much about my life before meeting Dave and Tia, but I don’t think it was good. I just remember being lonely and hungry a lot, but in this new house I was never without a warm bed or fresh water and there were always treats being handed out.  I staked my claim that night by sleeping at the foot of their bed. Despite some mild protesting by Dave, I was soon groomed and micro-chipped… which made me an official member of the Johnson family!  Later that summer Dave left for Basic Training in the Army. I sure did miss him! I watched as Tia wrote letters addressed to SPC Johnson at Ft. Benning, GA. Sometimes she sprayed this stinky flower smelling stuff on the letters and kissed them leaving a big pink mark on the bottom. If it were up to me I’d find something good to rub on the letter to show I cared, you know, like a dead fish or that squished squirrel down the street. Oh well. Eventually Dave came home for Christmas and told me all about the adventures he’d had during his time at Basic Training. He didn’t seem as excited about rolling in the mud as I would have been, but that’s another difference between me and my humans.

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