Benson and Toby

Double Trouble!

Benson was no longer alone.  Socially responsible as we are, we have practiced planned parenthood.  We always intended to have two male chocolate Labradors, and on February 24th 2001 Toby arrived upon the scene.

Meeting Toby for the First Time

Luckily Toby's breeder lives in Southgate, only a relatively short drive through North London (with Benson we'd had to trek down to Southampton).  The mother (Bisto) had had four girls and six boys, three of which had already been bought.  We chose Toby because, although he wasn't the most dominant, he was the biggest of the ones remaining.  We knew that he'd need to stand up to some rough play with Benson!

The pictures on the right were taken at six weeks.  In only two weeks time we'd be able to bring Toby home to meet Benson.  And our lives would be turned upside down once more!

  Toby Steve & Toby Phil & Toby
Toby & his Brothers Toby Toby
Toby & his Mother, Bisto Toby's Mother Bisto Bisto
A picture of a Picture of Toby's Father Josh Toby's Pedigree, as Supplied by the Breeder Toby's Kennel Club Registration


Toby Comes Home

We brought Toby home at eight weeks.  Benson's initial excitement at being presented with this little brown bundle of fur quickly changed into a stoic resignation as the reality of the situation dawned on him.  Toby seemed to be completely unfazed by all the changes a short car ride had brought about for him and, within a few hours, was chasing a bemused Benson around the house.  Any worries we may have had about Toby being intimidated by Benson had proved to be completely unfounded.

And Toby proved to be a hit with the stream of visitors he received that weekend, all of whom had been given strict instructions to make a fuss of Benson before fawning over the new puppy.  Toby certainly made his mark - particularly on the carpets!

  Toby Settling In Toby Exploring his New Home Together at Last
Benson Wasn't Keen on Sharing his Toys! Steve Playing with Benson and Toby Benson and Toby Playing
A Study in Stoicism
Feeding Time Toby's 'Cave' between the Sofas I Sleep Here
Toby with Ella, while Phil, Rowena & Angus Look On


May 2001 - Toby's First Month Home

Benson somehow managed to get used to a razor-toothed puppy leaping on him,  spending half the time hanging from his neck.  Benson's only relief was his daily walk and when Toby was taken to the vet for injections or for his weekly puppy party.   Benson and Toby on the Hearth Ready for Puppy Party Toby on Bean Bag
There May Be Food...!


June/July 2001 - Settling In Together

Once fully vaccinated and allowed out, Toby extended his boundaries to include many of  Benson's favourite haunts, including Clissold Park, Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest.  In the last two, Toby proved himself far less reticent to get wet than Benson (whose first love will always - we fear - remain mud!).  Toby still had very little off-lead exercise, as we were determined to try and avoid future problems with his joints.

Despite the speed with which he grew, Toby managed to keep reminding us that he was still just a puppy.  We had become lax as Benson had matured, and now Toby discovered new forms of mischief undreamt of by the older one.

Click one of the two links on the right to see a video of the boys in Clissold Park.

  Steve with the Dogs in Clissold Park Steve and the Dogs in Clissold Park The Dogs in Clissold Park
The dogs swimming on Hampstead Heath Phil with the dogs on Hampstead Heath The Dogs on Hampstead Heath
The dogs (and a small selection of toys) in the Lounge That Andrex Moment - Part 1 That Andrex Moment - Part 2

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July 2001 - Toby's First Holiday (Sort of!)

So why should two adults voluntarily spend almost a week cooped up in a camper van with two smelly dogs, touring the furthest reaches of the Norfolk and Suffolk coastline?   We're still not sure that we can really answer that, but it all started when our friend Jackie decreed that her birthday party was to be an al fresco affair.  A tent would have been impractical (and, to be honest, unacceptable!), so a camper van it was.   But then we had to hire the thing for a whole week, and we both needed some time off, so...

(Apologies for the quality of the pictures; we left our usual camera at home, and had to use a disposable.)

  Norfolk Campsite Norfolk Beach Jackie's Party
Another Norfolk Beach Suffolk Campsite


August 2001 - Back to Hampstead - and Beyond

The arrival of our friend Ralf for a short visit was all the excuse that was needed for another visit to Hampstead Heath.

Click one of the two links on the right to see a video of the boys having a run on Hampstead Heath.

But, within a week, the dogs would be herded into the car for a much bigger adventure.

Click here to see pictures of our holiday in Ireland.

  Ralf Phil & the dogs on Hampstead Heath, August 12th Phil Steve & the Dogs on Hampstead Heath, August 12th

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The Dogs on Hampstead Heath, August 12th Back Home from Ireland

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November 2001 - Growing More Alike

Toby was almost nine months when the photos on the right were taken in Epping Forest.  Although Benson is still taller, we often have to take a second look to be certain which is which.  But while Toby may be physically growing, he is still by temperament very much a puppy.  And a stubborn - and destructive - one at that!   Benson Toby & Steve Playing Ball Benson & Toby Tugging Benson & Toby Posing in Epping Forest
Benson in Epping Forest The Boys by a Lake in Epping Forest Toby Still Causing Chaos!
Benson & Toby After a Swim


Christmas & New Year 2001/ 2 - Toby's First

While we were off sunning ourselves in Tenerife (Click here to see our photos), Benson and Toby spent their Christmas and New Year with our friends Ann and Stephen in South London.  It was Toby's first Christmas of course, and indeed the first time for him that both of us had been absent for any period of time.  We had no worries however, as we knew that the two dogs would be spoilt rotten and showered with both love and presents (even if some of the latter didn't last as long as the holidays!)   Receiving their Presents Fitting into the Family Making Themselves at Home
Benson Toby & Benson Worn Out by All that Celebrating


January to March 2002 - Out and About

We try not to let Winter get us down, and so take Benson and Toby on excursions to places other than the local park.  The pictures on the right were taken on Brighton Beach, in Lynmouth (in North Devon) and in central London.  Not such a great distance to the latter, of course - well not at the moment anyway!   Benson and Toby on Brighton Beach Benson and Toby on Brighton Beach Phil and the Boys in Lynmouth, North Devon
Steve and the Boys near St Pauls Phil, Ralf and the Boys near St Pauls Phil, Steve and the Boys by the Millennium Bridge and the Tate Modern

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