As a child, I used to play with graph paper-designing my future homes with wrap around porches. I also made forts with sheets and pillows.
I don’t remember having a toy chest full of play things-I probably did but the things I remember are the stacks of books in the corner of my room, or the time spent grasshopper hunting behind my grandmother’s house, or the epic Mario Cart battles with my brothers. These toys were my favorites-they brought me comfort and made my childhood memorable and warm. As a dog owner, with dogs that are basically my children, I know they have their favorite toys too (underneath a plethora of junky toys that we have acquired for the sake of having “stuff” for them to gnaw on).
They don’t need 90% of the stuff in their toy box, and yes, they have a toy box. I put all their toys in the box, every night before bed. You know why? Because they pull every toy out during the day, littering the floor with half eaten tennis balls, wiffle balls, and even a cat bell or two. And ribbons/shoelaces that have been tied end to end. And noise makers upon rolling noise makers. I don’t know where half these things even came from-it seems they just show up. But, and this is a big BUT, they go to what comforts them, time and again. For Hazel, it is a chewed and loosening and equatorial cracked tennis ball OR her fluffy Owl that cuddles her at night. For Barn, it is a rubber bouncing ball bigger than his head. For Wes…well. Wes doesn’t really do the toy thing. And Coop, she loves the shoelaces. They all have their thing. I have considered getting rid of the non-comforting toys to whittle down our stock but would that action forever change the items that currently comfort them? Seems silly to think or voice aloud, but I feel like preserving the small things that I can because so much is out of our control…so the toys stay.
” I don’t know where half these things even came from-it seems they just show up.”
I hope, like I do from my childhood, they’ll remember the adventures more than the material goods they have at their clawed fingertips. Their memories act so differently than ours but their sense of self-who they are as a pack, who they are as a pup-is closely tied to what we do, and what we surround ourselves with day in and day out. At the end of the day, it’s all about what brings us the most comfort, regardless, and it is nice to know that they seek it from each other just as often as they do from the bottom of a cluttered bin of dog and cat toys..
Happy reading-now go find your comfort!