The Toy Dog

What does a dog get out of a toy?

I don’t mean the squeaky, all-action rubber playthings which help them chew, and maintain interest when their owner is out, and such. I mean cuddly toys. Like you give to children.

Why would a dog – for example a hulking great wolf of a thing from Tipperary, Ireland – arrive at his new, safe home and tour the house picking up cuddly toys, carrying them back to his voluminous basket?

And my final question: when given the choice between a tasty snack and a very small toy, why would the hulking great wolf choose the small toy?

At 6am on Easter Sunday I crept down to lay the children’s Easter eggs out ready on the kitchen table. I arranged them artfully and sprinkled tiny Easter favours around each: chicks for Maddie.

Felix usually gets rabbits, but I couldn’t find small rabbits in the shops. What I did unearth was a packet of very small sheep. Six white ones, one black one. I placed them on top of eggs and peeking out from behind eggs and underneath eggs.

I stood back to admire my handiwork. The family terrier looked impressed. A little too impressed, actually. I shut him firmly on the other side of the kitchen door and headed upstairs with a well-earned cup of tea.

A dog walk later, hours afterwards, I chanced to check the dog-bed of the other dog in the house: a large flat-coated-retriever-collie-cross, a Little Red Riding Hood Wolf of a dog. Great white teeth. Powerful paws for running with the pack. Terrifying mien if you’re a chihuahua.

Yet his first action, on arriving in the house, was to collect toys. To wander round to each bedroom, acquiring a floppy elephant here, a cuddly halloween spider there, a Chistmas knitted Santa Claus, a small dead-ringer for the family terrier.

And when his empire was complete, he slept on top of them like a dragon on top of his treasure. Soundly.

So there I was, by his Empire, checking out the latest acquisitions (logs destined for the fire, a single slightly gnawed shoe) and I spotted something which made me wonder.

It was one of Felix’s sheep, right next to the basket.

This great wolf had gained access to the kitchen. He had communed with all that chocolate and could have taken anything he chose. Yet he chose, not one of the sumptuous eggs: but a very small sheep.

Who does that?



30 thoughts on “The Toy Dog

  1. I find his kleptomania impressive and I second SidevieW’s take about dogs and chocolate. Our family dog, Thurber, who can be quite a scavenger for food, almost died after he gorged on a half pound of chocolate my niece left lying around. That’s stress you don’t want, so I’m very pro piling on the plush toys!

    1. Ah, yes, Virginia – we’ve had the dogs and chocolate debate on these pages before – access to chocolate for dogs is inadvisable, though Macaulay has indulged before now. Whilst the terrier’s stomach is generally cast iron, Freddie has had a very dodgy three years in someone else’s care, being half starved, and his tummy does not tolerate anything dodgy – so we have been very lucky. Vive les jouets.

  2. You are lucky he didn’t take the chocolate! Better question is how did he manage to get in there? Smart dog! He deserves every plushy thing he confiscates.

    1. Kate, we were very lucky. It was a close shave.

      We’re with you on most of his confiscations, though Phil’s Β£150-a-pair shoes and the television controllers were less kindly received.

  3. It is all in those eyes. ‘This is my sheep…and I should have had a basket…mum. But, being an independent lad, I am happy to collect a toy for myself and commune quietly with it…

  4. It is a part of his feeling safe. He surrounds himself by small pieces of his new home. The softer ones have the right scents on him of hos family. The harder ones are associated to places the family seems close, like the TV room. That, and like a person, having some personal treasures matters.

  5. Reggie is impressed that he did not attempt to eat the sheep. Reggie usually likes to “kill” his acquisitions and beat the stuffing out of them — quite literally. If it has a squeaker inside, look out!

  6. Love these photos, Kate. Glad he didn’t eat the chocolates. A friend’s terrier got into her son’s Easter egg stash a couple of years ago and almost died, poor thing.

  7. I have three dogs: Ronan, Bertie and Maisie. Whenever we come home, or anybody visits us, they all go to their toy basket and grab a “present.” Bertie is a Yorkie, an he grabs the biggest teddy in the box. It is as big as himself! Ronan, a Springer-x-Border Collie, runs around with his toy for a few minutes, but quickly loses interest. Maisie, a Daschund-x-Cocker Spaniel, is hardly ever seen without a toy in her mouth. By the end of the day, she has several in her bed, around the floor and out in the garden. I have tried to train her to put one toy back before she selects another, as you would with a child, but she pays absolutely no attention to me whatsoever. Naughty Maisie!

  8. I think I love him. What a great heart inside your beast. And who could resist those wee sheep?!

    I’ve not been around for a proper visit in far too long, so I am extra glad to have arrived here on this post.

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