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On Toby's Terms
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On Toby's Terms

4.9 30
by Charmaine Hammond

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When Charmaine and her husband adopted Toby, a five-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, they figured he might need some adjusting time, but they certainly didn't count on what he'd do in the meantime. Soon after he entered their lives and home, Toby proved to be a holy terror who routinely opened and emptied the hall closet, turned on water taps, pulled and ate things


When Charmaine and her husband adopted Toby, a five-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, they figured he might need some adjusting time, but they certainly didn't count on what he'd do in the meantime. Soon after he entered their lives and home, Toby proved to be a holy terror who routinely opened and emptied the hall closet, turned on water taps, pulled and ate things from the bookshelves, sat for hours on end in the sink, and spent his days rampaging through the house.

Oddest of all was his penchant for locking himself in the bathroom, and then pushing the lid of the toilet off the tank, smashing it to pieces. After a particularly disastrous encounter with the knife- block in the kitchen-and when the couple discovered Toby's bloody paw prints on the phone-they decided Toby needed professional help.

Little did they know what they would discover about this dog.

On Toby's Terms is an endearing story of a beguiling creature who teaches his owners that, despite their trying to teach him how to be the dog they want, he is the one to lay out the terms of being the dog he needs to be. This insight would change their lives forever.

Editorial Reviews

On Toby's Terms

  • A touching portrait of a remarkable dog. If you're looking for a feel-good story, this is it. —Jamie Hall, the Edmonton Journal

  • Simply a beautiful book about life, love and purpose. --Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul

  • In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog—like Toby! —Nina Siemaszko, actress, The West Wing

  • From snout to tail, this was a wonderful and humbling read! Your ability to flip Toby's errant behavior into self awareness and reflection is a great lesson and an enviable trait. And I was thankful to learn that perfectionism is not a hopeless condition!--Nancy Banner

  • Toby has been one of my all-time favorite interviews; he is right next to Bob Barker and Gordie Howe! His capacity to spread cheer is truly inspirational!—Mindy Tweedle, producer/host, CTS TV

  • A meaningful and moving story in which we can all find truth.—Justin Hines, award-winning singer/songwriter

  • A heartwarming, funny, and self-reflective journey about living with passion and purpose.—Janet Attwood, The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose

  • As with people, and as this book shows, providing your dog with a purpose will give you a happy and satisfied pet.—Karin Overgaard, Certified Pet Dog Trainer

  • They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. This is an amazing story that will wake up the student in you. —Aubrey Winfield, president, Orange Media Group of Companies

  • 5 Stars Not your everyday dog book. I loved the surprises, the life lessons and the humility that this beautiful book offered. If you have a dog, know a dog or love a dog, you will love this book, too! --Stephanie Staples, author, Your Life Unlimited

  • Enjoy the relationship learning adventure of both pet and human in this delightful book.—Kaytie Stack, K9 Awareness

  • Dogs are affected by the energy from our emotions and thoughts. This insight was both luck, and labor, for Toby. —Robin McKay

  • Living with an open mind and heart is but one of the insightful lessons taught by this incredible animal in this lovely book. —Lisa Litwinski, LIT PATH Learning Centre Ltd.

  • Authentically moving!—Shawne Duperon, Producer, six-time Emmy award winner

— Charmaine Hammond
From the Publisher
"This is a captivating, heartwarming story and we are very excited about bringing it to film." -- Steve Hudis, Producer, IMPACT Motion Pictures

"Simply a beautiful book about life, love and purpose." -- Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul series

Product Details

Bettie Youngs Book Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

On Toby's Terms

By Charmaine Hammond

Bettie Youngs Books

Copyright © 2010 Charmaine Hammond
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780984308149

Oh, Toby!

 You never know when your life is going to change.

'Hi, honey,' I said into my cell phone as I unlocked my car. 'I gave my presentation; it went great, and I'm on my way home. How was your day?'

'My day was wonderful . . . until I walked into the house.'

'Uh-oh . . .'

'The place is a total disaster. Your dog knocked over all four dining room chairs, the lamp in the living room, and that little table your mom gave you.'

'My dog?' I sank into the driver's seat, clutching my cell phone, suddenly dreading the three-hour drive from Calgary back to Edmonton because of what I envisioned I'd find when I got home.

'I'm at my wits' end, Char. There's mud and blood everywhere.'

I froze in the act of turning the ignition key. 'Blood?'

'That darned dog climbed on the kitchen counter, knocked over the knife block, and cut two of his feet. Then he tracked blood all over the kitchen, the living room, the hallways, the basement . . .'

'Is he okay?'

'Is he okay? What about me?'

I cringed at the volume of his voice. 'I'm sorry, honey,' I said, visualizing our eighty-five pound Chesapeake Bay retriever walking across the kitchen counter, the sink, and stove, tracking blood. 'How bad are his cuts?'

'Not too bad, but I had to pin him down to get his feet cleaned up and bandage his two front paws. He'll live.' Christopher didn't sound altogether pleased at the prospect.

Under other circumstances, a vision of my normally mild-mannered and easygoing husband chasing our dog through the house might have been amusing. But not now. Apart from the cut feet, which was a new twist, this was not the first—or the second, or the third—disaster we'd faced since bringing Toby into our home a few months earlier. It was peculiar, because for the first few weeks after we got him, things had been quite uneventful. But now one incident led to another.

'There's more,' Chris said. 'He knocked the books and candles off the coffee table and tipped the wooden table in the foyer over so it was blocking the door. I could barely get in. The flower planters were knocked over and so was the water cooler, which had a full canister of water in it this morning, remember? Not now. Now the water's all over our nice hardwood floor. That damn dog tore the boot racks from the closet wall and emptied the contents into the front entrance. He tracked bloody footprints all over the downstairs carpet. The house looks like a crime scene.'

'It can't be that bad.'

'It can't? You wouldn't recognize the kitchen or living room. Char, when I assess all the damage caused by this unruly, incorrigible, untrained, ill-mannered, and soon-to-have-another-home dog . . .'

'Don't say that. I know there have been some problems, but Toby's a great dog in so many ways. He's just got a little problem and we'll fix it.'

'A little problem? You should see the phone in the kitchen. It's bloody, too. Maybe he was trying to call 9-1-1.'

'That's funny, Chris!' I laughed. 'Just hang on, honey. I'll be home soon.'

'Not funny,' my dear husband replied. 'I've had it this time. I'm done with that dog!'

'Please, just hang on. When I get home, I'll help you clean up after my . . . after our dog.'

I heard him release a deep breath. 'We can't keep living on Toby's terms.'

But lately we were.





Excerpted from On Toby's Terms by Charmaine Hammond Copyright © 2010 by Charmaine Hammond. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Charmaine Hammond
A darlng, heartwarming story. --Steve Hudis, Producer, Impact Motion Picture

Meet the Author

Charmaine Hammond, a former Correctional Officer and Chartered Mediator, is active on the professional speaker circuit. Media-magnet Toby has won numerous awards including the CHIMO's prestigious Reese Award.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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On Toby's Terms 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
SStaples More than 1 year ago
Not your everyday dog book. I loved the surprises, the life lessons and the humility that this beautiful book offered. If you have a dog, know a dog or love a dog, you will love this book, too!
Penelope25 More than 1 year ago
Life is a journey with many paths. Whether you are human or animal, everyone needs a purpose, a routine, unconditional love, trust and support to guide them on the journey of life. Toby earlier acted as a child would as he didn't know any other way to communicate. Charmaine and Chris were able to accept Toby with his troubled past but knew he could be better. They found through the help of others that Toby needed a purpose and role. Through their explored determination Toby was able to become the loving dog and companion; not only Charmaine and Chris but to strangers. His newly learned gift became the strength for others. Congratulations to Charmaine, Chris and Toby. Penelope
StuartL More than 1 year ago
We thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author's devotion to both her husband and their dog, Toby, showed how anything is possible if one opens up their heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well worth the read. Shows the wonderful patience Charmaine and Chris have for Toby who just wanted to be loved and have a purpose. Toby is trying at times and pushes to the limit but everyone is well rewarded. A great book by a great new author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed it took me back to my childhood as we had a Chesapeake Bay retriever named Duke although he was an outside dog and used for hunting. He was always part of our family and well loved. It was inspiring and a joy to read.
KLH1 More than 1 year ago
This is a beautifully written story of a "problem" dog, and how he changed not only the thinking of his masters, but also their lives.
LeeHorbachewski More than 1 year ago
On Toby's Terms is a humorous, touching and beautiful story of a wonderful dog who has touched and shaped the lives of so many. This exquisitely written book is a must read that you will find tough to put down!
LisaChell More than 1 year ago
I am a mother of four. I have spent 21 years experiencing the peaks and pitfalls of being a parent and the overwhelming love and commitment that comes with that. I have never owned a dog (we do have a rabbit) and it didn't occur to me that a relationship with a dog could be as strong as the relationship between a parent and child...and Charmaine, Chris and Toby have taught me to look at things in a new way. As I read On Toby's Terms, I felt the same struggles and triumphs with love, frustration, faith, trust, fear, devotion, understanding and steadfastness in their family as I feel in ours. Anyone and everyone, regardless of your family dynamics, will fall head over heels with this book, this family and the underlying message; which is about devotion to helping one another find purpose and meaning in life and supporting those whom we love.
TeresaDee More than 1 year ago
My daughters and I read this book together as a family. We laughted, we cried, we stayed up WAY too late. What a joy! I highly recommend it. Teresa de Grosbois International Speaker, bestselling author
L_Ellen More than 1 year ago
I read this whole book in one sitting and would have loved to read more. It is so well written, evoking emotions from tears to much laughter. This is an amazing tale of perseverance, love, and insight. Toby is so much more than just a loving pet. In his own unique ways he taught his owners a lot of life's lessons including the fact that things are not always what they first seem to be. Even those who are not particularly fond of dogs can enjoy this tale. Very thought provoking! A great book for people of all ages. Kudos to Toby, Charmaine and her husband Chris for not giving up. Thanks to Charmaine for sharing Toby and what he has taught you with the world.
pookieKA More than 1 year ago
This was such a good book to read! I cannot imagine a dog like Toby - what a personality and what patience Charmaine and Chris have. Charmaine really helps the reader visualize the antics of Toby - an easy read - and a great ending. - Kellie A. Kamloops
thesilvertransformation More than 1 year ago
This story knows how to pull on your heartstrings. You realize the blessings in adversity and you learn that things aren't always what they seem. Serving on the fundraising committee for a local animal charity, I love how Toby was adopted and how his new owner's loved him so much that through the destructive phase, they showed love, compassion and an undying belief to best help Toby. This book paves the way for others to see how amazing shelter dogs really are and how much they can give their owners in the big picture. Thank you for the great read!!
thespiritedwoman More than 1 year ago
"I read On Toby's Terms in one sitting. I laughed. I cried, I patted my heart with his paw print of inspiration. Thank you Toby for being you, and to Charmaine and Chris for letting you be." Nancy Mills, founder The Spirited Woman
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a heart warming tale that I couldn't put down! I highly recommend this book to all dog lovers. it is a touching book about a remarkable dog. -- Marla Martenson, author of Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker
BobbyBY More than 1 year ago
This is a heartwarming story, a real joy to read and I can't wait for the movie...which I hear comes out next year!
BookMomto6 More than 1 year ago
I love reading non-fiction as much as I love reading fiction. To follow Toby’s journey through Charmaine’s eyes made this a special memoir. Bringing a new personality into a family, regardless of how small or how large that family is or whether the new personality is a human or an animal, takes adjustment. Having birthed six children, I know that expecting the unexpected is the only way to go into putting a new personality in a family. When you bring a new animal into the family, you need to consider all the previous owners. As with our two legged children, our four legged children are influenced by their homes and environments. Without knowing what an animal went through with its first family, you are playing a game with no winner. Charmaine and Chris learn many life lessons from Toby as they adapt to his presence in their family. He may not be able to talk but he makes his fears and anxieties known in other ways. How Charmaine and Chris react to these methods helps them not only become better parents to Toby but also helps them strengthen their relationship with each other. Whether you have children or dogs or both at home, you should read about Toby, Charmaine and Chris’s journey(s) to becoming a family.
WisReader More than 1 year ago
Marley had nothing Toby couldn't top. Charmaine and Chris are a loving couple who had experience with dogs. Their beloved Dooks had passed away and time had also passed. The time was right to fill the void in their lives. Deciding to look for a dog needing a better life, they perused the online rescue listings. Have you ever done that and fallen in love with a photo? The expression on a face or something in an animal's eyes? It seemed to be love at first sight with Char and Toby's photo. Perhaps they did not ask the right questions or get as much information as they should have, but once the deal was sealed, Toby and his eccentricities were now part of the family. You do not give up on family. Chris does think about it from time to time, but time diffuses the anger and frustration of the moment. Fortunately they recruit the advice and help from an accomplished and patient animal behaviorist. It is not a quick fix or a magical cure. It is a fresh start for Toby and allows him to use his natural talents. Not having Toby's destructive behaviors happening to us, as a reader we can chuckle about them. It takes very special people to be patient and understanding as their home is destroyed. Watching Toby's world change is heartwarming and gives me hope. Being a memoir, I was prepared to cry at the end. His final hours are treated with dignity and love. I am happy to report the book does not end on that sad note. I hope someday I get to meet this dynamic threesome. I was honored to receive this book in exchange for an unbiased review. It now sits on my favorites shelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RIA_Reviews More than 1 year ago
I am a total dog lover, so I was very excited to read On Toby's Terms by Charmaine Hammond. I couldn't wait to read about Toby's journey with his new family, and how he became a rescue dog. Let me tell you, he is one cute dog! I really enjoyed Charmaine's story telling abilities! She always added in what Toby was thinking during an action. I think it definitely brought a great aspect to the book. I always felt like I could just see this loving dog doing everything Charmaine wrote about. Poor, poor Chris! I completely felt for him. My five children always seem to have caused some new kind of chaos in my house, and I am home with them all the time! Charmaine has the patience of a saint. Eventually, I am sure, even though I love dogs, Toby would have riled me up. Of course, his doggy smiles and apology presents probably would have won me over. Toby's journey to becoming a pet therapy dog was so great to read about. I especially liked reading about Wednesdays with Toby, and how he helped the patients. I also loved how much Charmaine learned as she followed Toby on his journey. Toby definitely touches many lives. I think this is a wonderful book. It is a heartfelt and inspiring book. I was pulled in and enjoyed it all so much. I laughed, I cried, and I kept stopping to tell my husband parts of the story.
Sheri_Fink More than 1 year ago
"On Toby's Terms" is a beautiful story about the unique love between a dog and the family who adopted him. This uplifting book tells a tale of unconditional love and finding the good in every situation, a very important lesson. It's a wonderful example of choosing compassion and patience, even when it's not the easy thing to do. Toby's story shows that everyone, and every dog, has something special to give. I'm so glad that Toby found the right family to nurture him and help bring his gifts into the world. Sheri Fink, Author of 'The Little Rose'
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite Canadian author, Charmaine Hammond, and her husband, Christopher Alcock, loved their white German Shepherd, Dooks, and grieved losing him to death at an old age. Then, they found the picture of a happy, loving Chesapeake Bay Retriever on a website dedicated to rescuing animals. and that's how Toby the Retriever came into their lives. But Toby did not come meekly. While Charmaine and Christopher were at work, Toby was also at work, emptying the contents of their closets, trashing their bathrooms, and knocking over furniture. They hired a dog behavior specialist, and after working with Toby, she determined that Toby needed a purpose and suggested that he be trained as a therapy dog. And that is where Toby was in his glory. After Toby received his pet therapy training, Charmaine and Toby went to a mental health hospital every week, and there Toby worked his miracles with mentally damaged patients, bringing them out of their catatonic states. But he was still Toby, smashing toilet tank lids and barking his loud bark. Life is on his terms, period. On Toby's Terms is the most delightful story and should be required reading for every dog owner or potential owner. No rescue dog or puppy comes without its own set of issues, and Charmaine writes of how she and Chris learned to accept happy, loving Toby just as he is. This delightful book is well edited and well written, and Toby comes through as the shining star of dogs that he is, celebrated through a movie and his own website. Humor, love and patience come through in every word of this story. That Toby is now older, confronted with arthritis and has his good days and bad is a pleasant ending to this more than pleasant story. No Old Yeller here, just a first rate story about a first rate dog.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is said that the right teacher will appear when the student is ready. In this case the teacher is an intelligent, energetic and big-hearted Chesapeake Bay retriever named Toby. Bradlee Snow - author, "Jack The Cat: An Angel's Tale" (2011)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DarleneGudrieButts More than 1 year ago
"On Toby's Terms", on the surface, is a heartwarming story about a special dog and his patient owners. In reality, it is a book full of life lessons that encourages us to love through difficulty and disappointment. As I read the story, I couldn't help but relate it to times in my own life when getting past the damage was rewarded with surprising gifts. You cannot help but love Toby even though it may cost a few toilet lids. "On Toby's Terms" is entertaining, both hilarious and heart-breaking at times, and reminds the reader that you don't have to be perfect to change the world."
MarilynSuttle More than 1 year ago
It's been two weeks since I finished reading, On Toby's Terms, and I can't stop thinking about that book! Charmaine Hammond bravely shared her life with Toby (the good, the bad, and the ugly) in such a relatable way, that you can't help but reflect on your own life while reading it. This book is not just for pet lovers. There are lessons about contribution, leadership, team building, perseverance, and living your life purpose. Toby's story even has a lesson about what it takes to excel at customer service. It's an ideal book club book, or resource for leaders to share with their staff. Also a wonderful book to share with family and friends.