Never Enough!

When people see the pile of stuffed animals, ropes and balls in the corner of the bedroom they often ask, “Do the dogs have enough 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.


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 play. So, go help boost the economy and buy your dog a new toy. The pile is never big enough!

Note: This first appeared as the “Editor’s Notes” in the April/May’13 issue of Pet Tails Magazine.



As my ten-minute struggle ended–the cover finally lifting off the food canister–Zack, an African Grey parrot who had been watching me from his perch, erupted into laughter. At the end of a long, difficult day, I found myself laughing too.  It was a joyous, uninhibited surrender to the day’s events.

I often find myself laughing when I am caring for people’s pets. I also do things I don’t typically do–singing, dancing, and just acting silly. Mickey, an old, one-eyed hound dog, often made me me howl–literally.  Sometimes he would start the howling sessions,  at other times I would. We’d alternate howls, each getting louder and introducing various warbled effects. I swear Mickey would smile at me when the game began.

The animals often make me laugh, but there are times that the laughter comes with a great sense relief. One day I walked into a home to find that the resident Maine Coon cat had climbed to the top of a stepladder that had been left standing next to the Christmas tree. As I opened the door, his large paw was reaching for the twinkling star atop the tree.  He scampered down at my loud, “Ahhh, NO!” I had to laugh.

I fear the day a nanny cam is present and my antics show up on YouTube. But the daily presence of animals has lightened my spirit in a very profound way. I take life a little less seriously and often find myself LOL.