Does your pet have a favorite toy? Something he or she carries around the house, plays fetch with, maybe uses as a pillow. It’s probably slobber soaked and smells something awful, but you’d never dream of trying to pry it from the paws of your furry friend.
For my dog, Camellia, there’s two – “Lamb Chop” and Froggy.
Lamb Chop, every kid’s favorite puppet, was an Easter gift to Camellia from my mom a few years ago. And while we’ve had to get replacements several times, she likes those just as much as the original.
Then, last year, my cousin and her family gave Froggy to Camellia as a Christmas gift. But not before Camellia’s rowdy black Lab cousin, Gilbert, tried to claim it and destroy it as his own!
Now, Camellia has accumulated a lot of toys over the years – from tennis balls to a giant moose to rope pulls and more. And there’s also some she likes more than others, like her preference for her oversized sandwich complete with fake lettuce and tomato over her pink and white cuddly soccer ball.
But by far, Lamb Chop and Froggy win the best toys ever contest in her book. Honestly, it’s like she has some weird attachment to them.
When she greets you at the door, you can be sure she and her wagging tail will be bringing Lamb Chop over to say hello, too. And when she’s playing with Froggy and his croaking noise box goes off, she whimpers and cries like she’s missed him for a million years.
I just wish I understood the connection. Unfortunately, I’m no dog whisperer.
Then again, the more I think about it, it is very childlike.
I remember when I was little carrying around my stuffed “Speedy Gonzales.” Remember him? “The fastest mouse in all Mexico” from “Looney Tunes.” Okay, wait, before I go on –“Andale, Andale, Arriba, Arriba!” Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!
Now, back to the topic at hand; I have about as many answers as to why Speedy was my favorite childhood toy as I do about what makes Lamb Chop and Froggy so special to Camellia. And nobody knows the workings of my own mind better than me!
But maybe the point isn’t what makes them so special. Maybe the most important thing is that they make her happy.
I mean, we all have treasured possessions. So why shouldn’t our pets have them too?
It’s just as people age, our treasures go from the innocence of childhood to much more expensive tastes, like cars or electronics, and for some, heirlooms.
But our pets, they always seem to keep that childlike quality to them, don’t they?
From the time we brought Camellia home as a tiny puppy to now as she journeys through her senior years, it’s still the simple squeak of a toy that gets her excited and ready to play.
It makes me wish for a simpler time! But then, that’s why Camellia is in my life isn’t she? There’s nothing simpler than when she carries Lamb Chop clutched in her mouth and nudges me, looking for a pat on the head and some quality playtime.
And I’m always happy to oblige!
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