When the foster dog arrived, I put all the dog toys away.
Luckily, Honey knows how to make her own.
Dog Comes Home; Toys Go Away
Before we bring a new foster dog home, I round up all the dog toys and put them away. Why?
- We don’t know if the new dog will be possessive.
- Living in a new place (or having a new houseguest) is stressful.
We don’t want to add anything to the mix that could cause an argument.
Eventually, if it seems right, we bring toys out when we’re around to supervise their play. But with Layla in the house, I haven’t felt that was a good idea. So the toys stay in the guest room closet where Honey sniffs them wistfully when I go to get the vacuum cleaner.
And, since Layla isn’t very playful, Honey has missed her fun time. She’s had to solve the toy problem on her own.
Dog Toys Found in Nature
A branch broke off the maple in our front berm. Mike dragged it into the backyard until we could break it down for removal.
Y’know, I don’t think there will be much of it left by the time spring comes.
Honey has already broken all the small branches off the main one. Sometimes she lies in the snow and gnaws on it. And she’s dragged it out farther into the yard.
Besides the branch, Honey’s favorite toy is the snow.
She enjoys chasing the snowballs I toss for her. She rolls on her back to make snow angels. And she tosses the loose snow into the air to let it sprinkle down in her own version of a puppy ticker tape parade.
I should probably put on a pair of snow pants and join her. I could use the fun.
Learning to Play as a Grown Up
A few years ago I decided I needed to recover a sense of childish fun.
My own childhood was fairly serious. Why couldn’t I recover some of the fun I felt I had missed?
First I bought myself some coloring books and the really big box of crayons—the one with the sharpener built into the back of the box. I enjoyed coloring. And now I was old enough to stay inside the lines.
Next I started collecting comic books.
Sure, following the adventures of a dark knight control freak with an over developed sense of responsibility probably wasn’t the most playful move I could make. Neither was my interest in Dream recovering his kingdom from serial killers, demons, and maniacal gods or the attention I paid a samurai and his young child on a path of bloody vengeance. (If you understand all three of the references, you get the geek of the day award.)
But I enjoyed reading things that were all about the story. Y’know, just for fun.
And I’m only now realizing how that bit of childish fun is something Honey and I have in common.
Women Who Play With the Wolves
Entire industries have grown up around dogs’ similarities to wolves. They share nearly all the same genetic material.
But they also have major differences. And one is that adult wolves don’t play.
Sure, they’ll entertain the puppies in the family. Or explore an interesting new object. But adult wolves don’t spend their days frolicking with each other the way dogs do with each other and with us.
Dogs and people play throughout life.
Don’t believe me? Then what would you call kayaking? Pick up softball games? Chess?
We need to play. And so do our dogs.
Go Play With Your Dog
Thousands of years of evolution couldn’t be wrong (or God, if you prefer).
So get off the damn computer. Create a little mischief. Hide treats for your dog. Kick the snow until it sparkles in the air. Toss a ball. Run barefoot on the beach. You won’t regret it.
Play. It’s good for the dog. It’s good for you.
Are you as playful as you’d like to be? Does your dog remind you to play?
Photo of comic book shop is by Soon on Flickr and is used under a Creative Commons license. Click the picture to learn more about the photographer.