Wednesday, February 8, 2012

insights: the puppy and the foxtopus



We call them her 'babies' but they are stuffed animals, actually, and the puppy loves them. (Yes, we do realize the error of our ways  in saying things like "Go get your baby! Make the baby squeak! Make the baby squeak!" which might make life pretty interesting when we do have a baby.)

This morning as I was working on my laptop at the kitchen table I looked over at the puppy curled up in her dog bed, patiently waiting for me to stop and play with her. I smiled at her and decided email could wait as I got down on the floor with her and grabbed one of her babies from her toy basket. (For the record she hates rubber toys, rope toys and balls. It's all about the stuffed animals.)

She watched me take out her "Foxtopus" (a 5 legged Fox that squeaks) and walk over to the other side of the room. She climbed slowly out of her bed and started hunting me and the "Foxtopus" quietly and stealthily crouching low to the ground like a cat. She paused, front left foot in the air. I threw the Foxtopus and she ran after it, pounced on it, shook it, growled at it and brought it back to me. She waited. I threw it again. She ran after it, shook it, made it squeak and stopped a few feet away from me with Foxtopus in her mouth. The puppy stared at me then walked over to me and dropped Foxtopus in my hands. I threw it again. This time she looked at me then looked at where Foxtopus laid on the hardwood floor. She looked back at me. "Go get the baby," I said. "Go get her! Go get the baby! Where's the baby?" The puppy looked at me and slowly walked over to her stuffed animal. Before picking it up she looked at me then at the stuffed animal.

When she got to me she didn't drop it in my hands. I was sitting cross legged and she shoved the stuffed animal under my knee and sighed. I got it. She was exasperated. I could see the  thought bubble over her head. "Please, for the love of God, hold onto the baby. Have some control over things. You keep letting it get away from you. I'm through fetching your toys for you."

I threw the stuffed animal one more time trying to get it in the toy basket. It landed half in / half out of the basket. This time she picked it up brought it over to her bed and laid on top of it.

Game over. Time for a cookie and a nap.

Well played, puppy. Well played.

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