Toby's Story

As told by Julia Stearns

Revilo’s Gratitude, aka Toby, was born in Beaverton, Oregon on March 10, 2009. We soon discovered that Toby was born to be a therapy dog.

His calm demeanor and loving nature proved to be excellent for older adults and children alike. He was happiest when surrounded by little kids patting and hugging him.

With over 900 visits to his name, Toby earned the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD) title.

​​​During Toby’s life of nearly 10 years, he visited scores of nursing homes in the Gig Harbor, WA area, including Brookdale, Cottesmore, Manor Care, Olympic Alzheimers Center, and Kensington Gardens.
​​​He made many visits to see the kids at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, WA, as well as MD Anderson Children’s Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, TX. There was just something about Toby’s visit that eased and calmed many kids who had to face difficult and painful challenges. When Toby came into the room, tears stopped, frowns wiped away, and smiles abounded. Even for a few minutes, these kids would forget the pain and challenge and just hug the big guy and maybe get a kiss. And when it was time for Toby to go visit the next child in the next room, he would leave a stuffed little Toby with each kid so they all had something to hug and snuggle and remember Toby after he left.​
​​​He also went on trips to Alta, Utah and visited the kids at the ski resort. What’s better than visiting kids for Toby the St. Bernard? Visiting kids in the SNOW. Toby loved romping in the snow with the local avalanche dogs and visiting kids along the way. He was surely in his element there.​​
Other therapy visits include trips to the Pittsburgh Conference, also known as Pittcon, in Chicago, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Orlando. People from all over the world would come to the booth to see Toby. We joked that during a grueling day out on the show floor for 8 hours at a time, Toby was there to treat what we call ‘Canine Withdrawal Syndrome” since many people had to leave their own dogs behind at home. And because Pittcon falls right around Toby’s birthday, many visitors to the VICI booth celebrated his birthday with us, and yes he got cake too!​​

Pittcon also provided a daycare for the children of visiting conferees, and Toby made an annual visit to see them as well. They got a stuffed St. Bernard to take home with them too.

When Toby wasn’t doing therapy dog work, his favorite activities included running around with his friends nearly every day at Bandix Dog Park. He also loved hanging out on the deck at Netshed No 9, which of course meant he had the chance to meet more kids. He also loved going on boat trips with his family. And last but not least, he loved drinking from his very own fountain.