July 23, 2008

Serious Play

Over the last five years, we've been through numerous dog toys thanks to Captain. When he first arrived at our home, we had Dodge, our beloved Greyhound and Nadia, our little prima donna. Dodge and Nadia both loved fleecy, squeaky toys, but they also knew how to respect them and keep them intact for a reasonable period of time. Then along came Captain. Why this dog hasn't had to have emergency surgery to remove something from his intestines is a true miracle. I can't count the number of times we had to hold him down and gently remove the remains of a sock, fleece toy or cat toy from his anal orifice. The boy has an insatiable appetite for the inedible.

Over the years, with training and patience, he's gotten a lot better. We can leave socks, shoes and even newspapers lying around without being touched. But, try to give him anything resembling a dog toy that's not made of solid rubber or steel and the hound devours it in record time. And not just any rubber is safe from the jaws of Captain. His favorite toy of all is a tennis ball. He can smell one before you even get it out of the bag or box. And he can peel the fuzzy outer layer off and chew a hole in one before you can say, "Captain, where's the ball?"

One day, Neal got the bright idea to buy a bicycle tire, in an attempt to satisfy Captain's rubber desire as well as to find a virtually indestructible toy that would last for more than an hour. And, by golly, it worked! Though the tire has many teeth marks and a few worn and torn places, it has stood up to the test of time and to the jaws of Captain - for many months now. When Captain and his buddy, George, aren't playing tug-o-war with it, it's used as the target in a game of fetch or for Captain's own private game of "let's see if I can beat my brains out."

You just have to see it to appreciate how serious this boy takes his games:

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