Two People and a Dog: A Passions Project Story

  • Our Work
  • 06-14-19

If you spend enough time at Buffalo Hill Terrace, chances are you’ll encounter a long, brown, mixed-breed dog walking through the halls with one of his people.  He’s a very friendly dog, so he’ll probably come up to you to say hi.  At least, that’s how many visitors and residents first encounter David and Martha Maurer and their dog, Toby.

Toby has actually been in Martha’s life for longer than David has.  At the time of our conversation, she’d had the dog for about ten years, and now, that’s closer to eleven.  She and David have been married for eight years—both had previous spouses and were widowed.  Toby had a previous person in his life, too.  Martha’s neighbor in Texarkana, Arkansas had adopted him through a rescue program.  But Toby kept digging under the fence into Martha’s yard.  Eventually, Martha and her neighbor agreed that Toby should come to live with her on a permanent basis.  They’ve been together ever since.

After Martha’s first husband died, Toby used to snuggle with her, and he was very comforting.  Soon, though, Toby had two people.  Martha and David are both originally from California.  In fact, they went to the same high school and dated briefly.  Fifty-seven years after their original meeting, they reconnected online, and they eventually married.  Toby quickly adjusted to having David in his and Martha’s lives, and he’s certainly happy to be with either or both of them.

The small family relocated to Montana upon Martha and David’s marriage.  Some years before, David had moved to Somers because he was tired of California.  He heard Montana was a nice place, and when he came to visit, he agreed.  When he reconnected with Martha, Montana was where they chose to make their home. 

The couple and their dog moved into Buffalo Hill Terrace in the summer of 2017, and it’s been their home ever since.  Every time Martha or David takes Toby out for a walk, he stops to greet almost everyone he sees.  They also make regular visits to residents at the Immanuel Skilled Care Center, where Toby brightens the days of residents and staff.

Both David and Martha have long valued community service.  David volunteered with a number of organizations when he lived in California, and Martha still volunteers with a charity that reunites adoptees and their birth parents.  Both David and Martha like to feel like they make the world around them better.

As for Toby, when he’s not out and about visiting current friends and making new ones, he’s an active dog who likes to run around.  He also enjoys spending quiet time with his people.  In spite of his playful nature, Toby doesn’t much enjoy playing with dog toys, and he doesn’t like to travel.  He’s a social homebody, making him the perfect companion for two community-minded seniors like Martha and David!