When dogs arrive to board in our house they bring along one or two favorite toys from home. I always find it interesting if they will treasure these prized possessions while staying with us, or ignore them altogether. What makes a toy or stuffed animal so special?
Is it the person who buys the toy that makes it special? Or is a toy special because it has favorite characteristics that the dog enjoys? For example, a squeaker, a certain smell, or how it moves.
We have discovered that Abby’s most prized possessions are always stuffed animals. She prefers them to not be too fuzzy as she “gums” on them in a rhythmic sequence which often puts her to sleep! Sometimes she shoves so much of the stuffed animal into her mouth that she makes funny noises as she exhales through a mouthful of teddy bear. This behaviour started around the time she was six and I have no idea what started it. She may have observed another dog “in action” gumming a “lovie.” In the five years or so she has been observed using her lovies as perfect pillows too.
Quite often the fur gets “crunchy” from her mouthing so I toss her lovies into the washing machine to soften them up. I have wondered what she thinks of this as I have caught her bringing the clean ones back out from the laundry room when seeing them on the floor.
I do rotate her treasured stuffed animals as there we have quite a big collection. Some were gifts, while others were purchased over her almost fourteen years. She has never chewed holes in them or ripped pieces off. Her two most favorites are both grey in colour which I find interesting. One had an arm ripped off when a couple of boarding dogs decided to play tug-of-war. I stitched it up knowing how special it is to her. So far it seems like she doesn’t mind!
As I previously mentioned, when dogs come to board they often bring their own toys. I always smile when I see that a specific toy has made it through another year at their home. Some look pretty beat up and give us a good laugh. We had a toy arrive recently that was originally a stuffed squirrel by the looks of it; however, currently all of the inside fluff is gone. Ember, our other Labrador, takes great delight in visiting dogs’ toys. She especially loved what was left of this toy.
Ember is always the first to give visiting dogs’ toys a sniff or to carry them around. Penny, a sweet Golden Retriever, arrived tonight with her “baby,” a pink stuffed toy which to me looks shaped like a ginger bread boy. This toy has come with Penny to visit for over a decade! It still looks pretty good; I may have to ask if they have purchased others over the years or if the “baby” just washes well!
Leo, a fun-loving Portuguese water dog, arrived to board with us with a stuffed animal that he treasured. I think it was a stuffed monkey. We thought the toy was a cute and burst out laughing when it started to play out a tune when squeezed in Leo’s playful mouth. “Dling, Ding, Ding” played in succession at least three times in a row loudly as Leo ran around our living room. We gave it a couple of days then put it away to give us a break from the repetitive noise! All was well as he was happy to play with our assortment of other dog toys instead.
I always write down what toy our visitors bring so I can search for it when they head home.
Does your dog keep their loved possession in one room or near their bed? Or does the treasured item travel outdoors or maybe on holiday with you when your pooch comes along too?
Please share your dog’s “true love” and why it seems so special.
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