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Monday, January 3, 2011

Dog 'Blankies': When a Toy Makes for a Happy Dog

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
(c) Carrie Boyko
Xena Runs with Her Sock

We have all seen a toddler or two, following mom around, while dragging his ‘blankie’ with him. Security blankets are one item that gives many children a feeling of safety--a little extra comfort that is portable.

Many dogs use toys like security blankets, dragging their favorite one all over the house, as if they need it to feel complete. My Xena, a Retriever mix, always had a special connection with socks. She didn’t chew them up or destroy them, but simply carried them from place to place as she ambled about the house. As a puppy, Xena often carried her ‘sock of the day’ outside and buried it. 

I have found many a sock during my outdoor gardening, and known that Xena had long since forgotten about it. Sometimes, though, Xena remembered her hiding places. On more than a few occasions she went to a specific spot outside and begun to dig. She didn’t give up until she came up with a sock. And not a pretty one. Was she ever proud!

Even at the ripe old age of 13 1/2, Xena continued to raid the laundry basket for socks. Clean ones just weren’t the same as a smelly one from the dirty laundry. Did I mind? Not really. As long as she was respectful of our property, I felt it was acceptable for her to enjoy playing with it. And play she did.

One day just before she left us in October, I found her frolicking with her sock like a puppy. "That’s my girl!", I said to her. Sometimes I found her tossing her sock into the air and rolling around on top of it. Finally, when she had her fun, she would lie down, making sure it was snuggled into her fur for safety. After a long nap, she would often forget about her sock and leave it behind. This was my opportunity to retrieve it. 

"Good girl, Xena. I’m glad you took good care of Daddy’s sock. I’ll just put it away now. Thank you!"

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Elizabeth said...

That is so sweet! I wish I could have met Xena!

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