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You can teach an old toy new tricks



AbbyLast night I concocted more fun than I thought was possible while wearing pajamas (yes, plaid flannel) on a Monday night. See that little hooligan of mine to the left? That’s Abby, my sweet little mixed up girl. I say she’s mixed up, because she’s made from the spare parts of other dogs. We can’t figure out her breeds. Certainly part Golden Retriever, and part Chow, but maybe part pitbull, and sometimes she looks like a collie. She’s just mixed up, but all Abby. She came to live with me during my sick leave last year, and we bonded over recovering from surgery and watching tv together.

And let me tell you, I love this dog.

She’s so smart, and funny, but more than any other dog I’ve ever had, Abby loves to play. Her favorite things in life are wrestling, chasing cats (bad dog!) , fetching, wrestling, cookies, sleeping, wrestling, chasing peacocks (good dog!), fetching, and wrestling. Oh yeah, and she likes wrestling, too.


Last night, I completely rocked her world, and in exchange she rocked mine back. I found an old toy of hers, perhaps one of the first toys she had when she came to live with us, called Green Dinosaur. [Go ahead, just guess why we call it that…] One thing you have to understand about Abby is that she was very neglected when we found her. Well, that’s not true, exactly….she was very neglected when my mom, um, liberated her. She had no idea that dog food was food and just couldn’t believe the miracle of fresh water in a bowl all the time. She ate frogs and licked the dew off the grass for water.


And she’d never had a toy of her own as far as we could tell from her behavior. She loves toys. She just exudes joy when she gets a new toy, and she likes to round them all up and roll around on them a bunch at a time. I’m telling you, this dog thinks she’s living in heaven.


But even so, some of her favorite toys, like Green Dinosaur, have started to lose their appeal. She’ll take them out and run up and down the hallway with them, but in a few minutes she’ll change them out for Squeaky Shark, Squeaky Squirl, and Squeaky Elephant. Are you seeing a theme here? See, if Green Dinosaur squeaked, he would have been named Squeaky Dinosaur….but no.


Last night, I turned her puppy world upside down. I rounded up all her non-squeaky toys. Boy, was she ever curious!


Hey, Mom, those are my toys…Mom… mom! bring those back!…Wait a minute, what do you need four toys for, Mom! Come on, at least share with me….here, I’ll give you this tennis ball for just one of those toys….


I put Abby in a “sit-stay” and lined the toys up on the floor in front her. She was quivering.


Then I said “Okay! Get it!” She ran straight for Green Dinosaur, and that’s how I let her pick her favorite.


Time for a little Dino-surgery. I opened up a seam on the toy’s back, and silently slipped in……a squeaker.


Abby was watching my every move.


Hey mom, what are you doing with my………aaarrgh! You’ve cut his back wide open! What did you do that for! Gimme, gimme, GIMME!


After I sewed Green Dinosaur up, I handed him back to her, and she grabbed him so hard that, yep, he squeaked.


She was so shocked that her ears went straight up, her brow wrinkled, and she dropped him. Then she picked him up again. Squeak! …. squeak! squeaksqueaksqueaksqueaksqueaksqueaksqueak!


Oh my gosh, that silly dog played with that toy for hours, running up and down the hallway, showing it off to Tony, showing it off to the cats, as if to say, “Hey have you heard the news? Green Dinosaur squeaks! He squeaks! And you can’t have him, oh no you can’t!” We played and played and played until we were both exhausted. And her joy and happiness spilled over and filled the whole house.


Okay, I guess this is a pretty mundane post. No earth-shattering events here or deep, philosophical musings. Just pure unadulterated puppy love and joy. For those hours, I forgot all the “important” things I had to do, and I just played.

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