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Toby's Story

An Abandoned Dog Gets a Fairy-Tale Ending

by Paige Huston

Golden retriever Toby came to Dave Shuffett and to Kentucky Life thanks to Paige Huston of Harrodsburg. In this column from the January 25, 2007 Harrodsburg Herald, Paige tells how she rescued the dog and found him a new home.

Several weeks ago, my boyfriend and I rescued a young golden retriever. When we first brought him home from the Burgin power plant where he apparently had been dumped, he was skittish and submissive, and he showed many signs of having been abused.

After a few days, he began to warm up to us, and we could see that he would be a great family pet. We would have loved to keep him, but we travel too much and both work outside the home, so we put up posters with his picture and sought to find him a loving home.

About a week after we got the dog, whom we called High-Side, we went out to Shaker Village to attend the presentation of the “Kentucky Treasure” award that Shaker Village received from the late Dr. Thomas Clark and the Kentucky Historical Society. Dave Shuffett of Kentucky Life fame was there to introduce and preview the KET production featuring the 11 Kentucky Treasures [Kentucky Life Program 1222]. In the preview, Dave was shown walking two dogs, one of which appeared to be a golden retriever.

After the presentation, we approached Dave and asked him about the dogs. He said that one was a golden retriever, so we asked him if he knew anyone who might want one. Dave immediately said he might be interested in adopting the dog himself. We noticed that when he signed autographs, he signed his name and the two dogs’ names, Charlie and Sadie. We suggested that we run home and bring High-Side to Shaker Village so Dave could meet him.

When we got back, Dave told us more about the golden retriever breed than we had ever known, and he appeared to be very taken with our beautiful canine. He said Sadie needed to retire from television work due to her age, and he was looking for a dog to take her place alongside Charlie. We told him to think it over and call us the next day.

The whole next day, I prayed that we had found a home for High-Side. Dave finally called and said he definitely wanted him. A few days later, we took High-Side to his new home, where he was lovingly welcomed....

We visited the Shuffetts just last week, and High-Side, now named Toby, is a brand new dog. He is no longer skittish or afraid of sudden movements. [Dave’s son] Will accidentally bopped Toby on the head with a tennis ball, and Toby didn’t even flinch. He just got up and looked around. Toby and Charlie enjoyed playing and wrestling with one another and later laid down to sleep together in front of the fire. It was a Disney moment....

So, a dog that was once abandoned is now adored. A sweet animal that to someone was a nuisance is now bringing joy to an entire family. A precious pup that was once forgotten will soon be adopted by the more than 100,000 viewers who watch Kentucky Life.

I’m extremely grateful to Dave for giving Toby a good home. And, even more so, I am grateful to God, who, I believe, orchestrated our meeting with Dave so that Toby could live happily ever after.

© 2007 Harrodsburg Herald; reproduced by permission.

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