Dog Toys – Never Enough!

When people see the pile of stuffed animals, ropes and balls in the corner of the bedroom they often ask, “Do you have enough dog toys?” My answer is always the same. “No.”

The pile has grown over the last twenty years of dog ownership. Many in the mound have been ripped apart and sewn together, de-stuffed and re-stuffed numerous times, have taken spins in the washing machine and have gone missing for months only to reappear, as if by magic.

Dog Toys

I cannot come home at the end of the day without our black Lab, Cole, running to the pile, grabbing a toy and racing back to me with it in his mouth––often squeaking it the whole way.

Friends visit us with their mastiff, Dixie. She knows where the toy basket is kept, grabs one of the stuffed critters and settles down on the floor for a ripping and de-squeaking fest. Cole often joins her and the carpet is soon covered in piles of white cotton and mangled, plastic squeakers. Fortunately they don’t swallow these innards and the only adverse effect is the need to drag out the vacuum.

Our first dog, Jake, also loved to tear apart stuffed toys. As a new dog owner and having always been taught to take care of my own toys growing up, I was always distraught to see Jake tear apart one of his. At the time I didn’t appreciate the joy and soothing effect that tearing gives to a dog. Sadly, I would put a toy away so that it wasn’t destroyed. I will forever regret doing that.

Toys can bring great joy to a dog and to us as we watch them; they can make us happy as we play a little tug with them, too. Help boost the economy by purchasing a few more toys or think green and start a DIY project–turn unused household items into fun-filled toys for your pets. The pile is never big enough!

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“Last Night” ~~ Author unknown

Vito 2003 - 2012

“Last Night”

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep. 
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.” 

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea, 
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me. 
I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more. 

I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care. 
I want to re-assure you, that I’m not lying there. 
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key. 
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said ” it’s me.” 

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair. 
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there. 
It’s possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.” 
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew…
In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you. 

The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning 
and say “good-night, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.” 
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide, 
I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side. 
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see. 

Be patient, live your journey out…then come home to be with me.

~ Author unknown.

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Patience

If patience is a virtue, then caring for animals can help make us virtuous.

I was far from virtuous one recent morning as my first coffee awaited my return from the daily ritual of walking the dogs as soon as I roll out of bed. A cold wind sweeping off a pond did nothing to improve my mood as I stood waiting at yet another patch of innocuous grass as both Labradors intensely sniffed, oblivious to my scowl and growing impatience.

I know that the life expectancy for my two large dogs is relatively short—one now ten and the other nine—and I should not be wasting any of the time we spend together in an impatient state. Later that cold day I realized it was the 7th anniversary of the passing of our golden retriever, Jake; he had been twelve. I resolved then to have more patience with Baxter and Cole, even when stopping for the umpteenth time during our morning walk. Besides it is a new year, an appropriate time for making resolutions.
Cole, Baxter, & Waldo
Our cat Waldo entered our lives last October and he, too, is now teaching us about patience. One of the first lessons came when trying to find items he enjoyed scratching other than the living room chairs and dining room seat cushions. Not only did we need to find the correct item, but we also needed to determine the correct location for it. The patience part came in the waiting for the absence of inappropriate scratching. It took several weeks before we were no longer awoken at 3 AM to the ripping sounds of cloth being shredded.

A new lesson in patience is on-going. Two weeks ago, Waldo stopped eating. We now have a plethora of cat foods in the pantry closet. After a couple meals of wolfing down a particular brand, Waldo decides he no longer wants it. I’ve had as many as four different ones open in front of him before he decides on one. Our vet suggested adding clam juice, which does help the appeal of a waning liking for a particular brand, but not permanently. (We need to have patience as we figure out what is going on…)

Anyone that has pets learns the need for patience, from house training a puppy to teaching a cat to stay off the kitchen counters. Numerous studies show the many benefits of pet ownership, both mental and physical. Learning patience is just one more.

[This is the “Editor’s Notes” column from the February/March issue of Pet Tails.]

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