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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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

by Carrie Boyko

(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, has always had a special connection with socks. She doesn’t chew them up or destroy them, but simply carries them from place to place as she ambles 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 remembers her hiding places. On more than a few occasions she has gone 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 today, at the ripe old age of 14 1/2, Xena continues to raid the laundry basket for socks. Clean ones just aren’t the same as a smelly one from the dirty laundry. Do I mind? Not really. As long as she is respectful of our property, I think it is acceptable for her to enjoy playing with it. And play she does.

Today she is frolicking with her sock like a puppy. That’s my girl! Sometimes I will find her tossing her sock into the air and rolling around on top of it. Finally, when she has had her fun, she will lie down, making sure it is snuggled into her fur for safety. After a long nap, she will often forget about her sock and leave it behind. This is 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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© Carrie Boyko, all rights reserved

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Nature by Dawn said...

Dog toys can get really expensive for something my dogs will destroy in less than 30 minutes. So sometimes I make their toys from old socks or other clothes and such which I can't use any more. Sometimes I put a tennis ball in a sock and tie a knot on the end. Or I tie the socks into a bunch of knots and watch Sephi and Maya play tug-of-war with each other. Eventually, Maya will untie all the knots and the sock to pieces.

Sephi & Maya don't collect or hide their toys, but they do particulary love to play with the sock toys.

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