Darby and Handler Toni

Darby and Handler Toni

To say 10-year-old Darby is a dedicated people pooch is an understatement. Never was this more evident than on a visit to an independent living center in The Villages where they approached a man sitting alone with a sad, faraway look on his face. Darby responded by sitting on the man’s feet and leaning against his legs. Once over his surprise, the man smiled broadly and started petting Darby, saying, “He’s sitting on my feet!” To which Toni replied, “That’s how he shows his affection, Leaning on you is his version of a hug.” Another wide, beaming smile and more pets created one truly memorable experience for three.

Toni and Darby walk twice a day, morning and evening. In the evening, they walk with three other dogs and their moms, and this canine quartet is so well known in the neighborhood that some of the neighbors come out to give them treats, which, of course, the dogs love. It’s such an established ritual that if one of the dogs is absent for one reason or another, Darby will stand in their driveway with a quizzical look as if saying, “Hey, I’m here. Where are you?”

He’s so sweetly social that whenever one of his doggy friends comes in the door on a leash with his/her mom, he takes their leash in his mouth, ushers them grandly into the house with a proud grin on his face, and leads them directly to the treat jar!

Darby has a GREAT love for children. During his walks, if he hears them speaking or sees them playing, he immediately pulls Toni toward them with his long tail and whole body wagging in excitement! Because of this, Toni relishes the prospect of going into schools to work with and help children, whatever the age, whatever the challenge, because she knows how positively an empathetic dog like Darby can impact their lives.

Basic Manners
Canine Good Citizen
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