Chapter 51 — Squeaky Toy Joy

Here’s to the inventor of squeaky toys for dogs!  May he or she make a million dollars.  Disclaimer:   I have no stock, financial interest or other potential financial benefit from the manufacture of squeaky toys.  I just know how much dogs love them.

And, please, keep the toys coming—there’s a local fan base that includes 4 Labrador retrievers, 1 Weimaraner and Greta, my duck tolling retriever.  The Weimaraner can take Squeaky or leave it, but shows occasional interest.  Josie, the Chesapeake Bay retriever who considers herself a furry person, is the only one too dignified to respond to the toy at all.

Describing  a squeaky toy as a rubber ball with two little feet and a squeaker inside doesn’t begin to convey  a dog’s  sublime joy.  Dogs chase  the ball, grab it, crunch it between their teeth and listen to it squeal for mercy.  Endlessly.

Just as each dog in the local pack has a different  personality, each has a different approach to playing with Squeaky.

For Colt, the yellow Lab, the joy is in the chase.  Nothing brightens his morning like a ball rolling down the hill as he pumps his legs behind it until he grabs the prize, gives it a couple of good chews and returns the slobber-covered toy for another toss.

For Maya, the slender black Lab, it’s all about snatching victory—and Squeaky–from Colt’s jaws and racing away with it.  She has no plans to bring it back, although if she were left alone with it for an extended period, her jaws would probably get tired and she would drop the ball.  We will probably never know;  the other dogs have no intention of leaving Maya alone with Squeaky.

Maddy, the larger black Lab, takes a more casual approach.  She gets the toy occasionally and crunches it in her jaws, but she lacks Maya and Colt’s single-minded dedication to pursuit of  the ball.

Juno, the English lab, would like to retrieve Squeaky if the other dogs weren’t so much faster than he.  But he can’t worry about that, or anything else.  Juno is the quintessential Type B personality.  He’s just  happy being in the pack and ambling along with the others.  Juno is a well-educated retriever.  When he gets the toy, he knows how to bring it back, sit and hold it in his mouth until his owner accepts it.  But if days or weeks go by and he doesn’t get the ball,  he just shrugs and goes on.  Life is still good.

Greta doesn’t compete strongly for Squeaky in the pack, although she will snarl at others when she imagines some jostling or behavioral insult.   But when she is the only dog on hand,  she loves to swim out after the toy, grab it in her mouth and turn, her tail floating on the water as she paddles  back to shore.  At water’s edge, she tosses Squeaky in the air or drops it on the bank and studies the effect of gravity, her ears pricked forward, as the toy rolls down into the mud.

Squeaky in the water is fun.   But for sheer dog ecstasy, Greta finds that nothing beats rolling on your back in the grass while chomping down on the toy to make it squeal.  That, she can tell  you as she rolls over and lets her tongue hang out in a big grin, is the good life.

Tollers have short attention spans, which explains why there are three or four squeaky toys at the bottom of the local pond.  If Squeaky is floating six feet out on a November day, and Greta pretends to have no idea what I’m talking about when I point and say, “Fetch toy!”  Squeaky is probably doomed to a watery grave.  I would brave frigid water, mud and ice if my dog were sinking.  But for a $6.99 toy, no.    Sometimes we find Squeaky washed up at the edge of the pond a day or two later, its horns and feet muddy but otherwise undamaged.  Sometimes, it sinks.

Luckily for Greta, mouth feel on a new squeaky toy seems to be just as good as on the old one.  A few chomps in the back seat on the way to the park, a few squeals, a little dog slobber lubrication and lost Squeaky is forgotten.  New Squeaky is on the job.

© 2012 by Donna Engle

This entry was posted in dogs, dogs at play, Labrador retrievers, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, squeaky toys. Bookmark the permalink.

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