DOGS, THEIR TOYS AND THEIR HUMANS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Dog toys are an important part of our household. We have to have the right kinds for our two dogs and the right number for optimum sharing.

That has become a problem since we got an eight month old rescue dog, Remy, five months ago. She joined our seven-year old dog, Lexi.

Lexi is very gentle with dog toys, so they tend to last a long time. She still has ‘Blue Dog’, the stuffed animal we bought the day we brought her home with us seven years ago. (Actually, the current “Blue Dog’ is the second of two identical dogs we bought for Lexi.

Every morning, Lexi used to religiously bring Blue Dog down from the bedroom to the kitchen/family room. Every night, she would also carry him back upstairs when we went up to bed. We loved this ritual. But she can’t do it anymore. Remy got hold of one of the Blue Dogs, which I had lovingly sewn back together and patched up many, many times. It was missing it’s tail, ears and three of its legs.

After Remy was through with it, the remains had to be thrown in the garbage. We had to take the other Blue dog away from Lexi to protect him from a similar fate. Lexi has adjusted. We are still broken-hearted.

Remy is an eviscerater. She takes any fabric toy, tears it open, pulls out the stuffing, then shreds it. The floor looks like a bomb went off in a cotton ball factory. She has been known to turn stuffed toys inside out in the process. She is the Terminator of Stuffed Toys. And she does this in record time – hours, not days. So poor Lexi can’t have her plush toys anymore. We buy her the flat ones that look like stuffed animals but have no stuffing. They don’t last very long either, but it’s better than nothing.

My husband Tom has also had to change some of his habits since Remy joined our family. Lexi intuitively knew what was a dog toy and what was not. She never, ever chewed anything that wasn’t made for dogs. What she did do was ‘clean up’ after Tom. When Tom left his socks on the floor in the bedroom, Lexi would bring them down to the family room. She never chewed them. She just removed them from the bedroom. I think she was reminding Tom that he had forgotten to put his socks in the hamper.

Lexi with toys and sock in her mouth

Unfortunately, Remy does not have Lexi’s dog toy “radar.” To Remy, anything on the floor is fair game. So Tom’s socks don’t make it to the family room. When they land on the bedroom floor, they get scooped up by Remy and shredded. Not only does Tom now have to put his socks in the hamper every day, he has to bury them in amongst the dirty clothes. Otherwise, Remy will walk into the closet and pick the socks off the top of the clothes pile.

She has apparently developed a taste for socks. Tom’s socks.

So I’m buying a lot more dog toys and men’s socks these days. Maybe Remy will outgrow some of her super aggressive chewing as she gets older. But by then, I’ll have gotten used to shopping for extra toys and socks so I probably won’t even care anymore. Remy is worth the extra effort. And watching Remy and Lexi wrestle and chase each other outside makes all the carnage is worthwhile.

 

32 thoughts on “DOGS, THEIR TOYS AND THEIR HUMANS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

    • Thanks! We think they’re wonderful! We always put a lot of time and effort into our dogs. They’re our kids now and we get back way more than we put in.

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  1. The flat ones that look like road kill seem to work better for us. Bonnie also rips them open, but she EATS the stuffing. That’s what made her so sick last time. The flat ones get ripped, but there’s nothing for her to eat.

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    • The current lot of our doggy toys seem to have somewhat survived PTSD although most of them have been silenced.

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    • Remy still rears apart the flat toys. You just don’t have white balls of stuffing all over the house. But it takes her an hour or so and she’s done with the toy. Actually, the toy is done too. So I’m not sure what to do.

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    • The first photo of Lexi as puppy with her Blue Dog is one of my all time favorites. I have it blown up in my bedroom so I see it every day!

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    • I have sewn back ears and legs and tails so often! At some point you have to just let the dog reshape their toys their own way. As long as there’s something left, it’s all good.

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    • The dogs are so good together! They have a way of lying together so part of them is always touching. It’s so sweet. But dogs come from packs where puppies and dogs sleep in close quarters, on top of one another. So cuddling is natural to them. That’s part of why we love dogs so much.

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    • Thanks! Lexi also parades around with multiple stuffed toys in her mouth. She uses it as a signal that she wants us to come and sit on the sofa with her after dinner. SO cute! Except when she also whines and whines.

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      • You’re right so cute! The UPS man thinks that Scout carries his toy around as a deception before he attacks…as if.
        Yours sounds cute, although I guess the whining can get old…but I know I missed it when I lost my old girl, Cha.

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  2. The dog we had was your basic dog, hound and pointer mix–he finally understood that leather ANYTHING was off limits (the hard way) unless I handed it to him. He also had a slipper fetish, the fuzzy kind, and on occasion I’d see him eyeing them speculatively, as if trying to decide if it was ‘ready” for him.

    We made a ceremony out of it. I’d hand him the slipper, and his eyes would get that ‘for ME???” look, he’d take it delicately out of my hands, and disappear. I never saw any of them again except for once, we were walking in the woods and he ran over to a juniper beside the road, rooted around, and came back with one of my “gift’ slippers, a soggy looking bright orange fuzzy slipper, which he carried for the rest of the walk. At the end of it he dropped it behind another juniper. Tidy dog.

    I love watching animals of any kind shape their worlds around themselves. Some are greeters, some are carriers, some are eager to get to the good parts in a stuffed toy.

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    • Tom had a dog like yours who was a collector. He would take things and line them up behind a big chair. It was his stash. Many dogs bury things too if they have the opportunity.

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      • He also had a fetish for six pack cartons. I would cut the handle part (it used to get caught on his teeth) and he’d carry those things everywhere. Every walk we took he had his six-pack carton with him. Those, too, were stashed around the property, and damn if he didn’t know where all of them were. He had to carry something, and these were convenient and easy to lug around.
        He found out the hard way that very long sticks will not go through a regular door head on. Ouch.

        What a great image of that chair with the treasures behind it.

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        • Dogs who carry things around with them in their mouths must have some hunting breed in them. Many breeds are engineered to retrieve animals that have been shot and to carry them gently in a “soft mouth”. Lexi is always very gentle when she holds toys in her mouth – as if she’s trying not to damage them in any way. And she also releses them very carefully and purposefully. It’s fun to watch. It’s like she’s doing a job she’s been trained to do a certain way.

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    • WE got lucky finding Remy for Lexi. They get along great and they do play together outside. But now Lexi, who’s seven, doesn’t want to play and run around as much as Remy does. Remy’s only a year so it’s now sad for her that she can’t play and run as much as she needs to. We should really now get another dog for Remy to play with 24/7! We have had up to four dogs but for us, two is the ideal number. Sorry Remy!

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  3. Oh my goodness, you have two dogs who are much like mine. I have two Great Danes. Levi is perfect like your Lexi and Walter is a demon child puppy. Dog toys are a staple of our household, too. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. 🙂

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    • Thank you for your compliment. Dogs have such different personalities. They are always unique and you never know what you’re getting until you really get to live with and know the dog. It’s like children – you don’t know what you’re going to get at each stage of their lives.

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  4. I have a tortie cat who thinks shes a dog. She will chew anything she can get her mouth on, and eat anything that isn’t nailed down. As far as meals go, well, she just has to be part of that too, helping herself to our food, then jumping down, eating it and coming back for more. Shes insane!! She also carries her “baby” around with her, a tan stuffed teddy bear that I have already had to sew the head back on once. It comes upstairs with her at bedtime and downstairs in the morning. I think she may just be confused if she really IS a cat lol

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    • Your cat really sounds exactly like my dogs! Lexi used to carry Blue Dog around with her and wherever she was in the house, there was Blue Dog. We once had a cat who acted like a dog. He was wonderful. He followed us around and wanted to play and be petted all the time.

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