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?