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  • Writer's pictureBill Stauffer

Gratitude Friday 1/29/21 – In Praise of a Dirty, Old Squeaky Dog Toy

The topic of this post is evident from the title. Please accept this disclaimer up front. I fully understand if you stop reading this post right now. To be clear, I am writing it mostly for myself as the topic makes me smile. If you also like it, all the better, but know at the start it is as much or more for my own amusement than anything else.

All squeaky toys in our home our known as “monkeys.” I have no idea why as I don’t think he actually ever possessed a stuffed monkey toy. Our dog Mr. Tweaks can differentiate monkeys by their specific type. This would be sort of in a genus / species categorization of dog toys for Mr. Tweaks.

So pictured above would be genus monkey and species “new dirty pig.” It is his favorite species of monkey currently. He has another one of the same design, but the one pictured above replaced his affections from that historic one. The new dirty pig has seen less miles of travel in a dog mouth around our humble abode than “old dirty pig.” He seems to like monkeys even better when the squeaker breaks, lending the toy to make odd sounds instead of a full squeak. That may be because we like those sounds even better. This monkey is in prime shape given his standards. The top squeaker of the two internal squeaker mechanisms is busted so it makes a pathetic and small sound. Not too new, not too old. It is just right. A perfect monkey.

So why am I grateful for the squeaky toy aka the new dirty pig? Because when I am having a rough day, this thing finds itself into my lap, carried or tossed there by Mr. Tweaks. He has assumed his sole job in life is to get me (or Julie) to smile and play. If ignored, he become more persistent and increases the intensity of his efforts to get me to smile, toss, or hide “the monkey.” He will run around and squeak it until I throw it. If I continue to ignore it, he jumps into my lap and flips it on my face with uncanny accuracy until I am not able to ignore it any longer. He makes these intricate dog yodeling sounds the entire time. The only thing with any importance in the world is this dirty dog toy. There is no choice to NOT play. He will cock his head to the side and look back and forth slowly from the pig into my eyes for as long as it will take while soft dog yodeling the whole time. If the pig does not work, he collects the myriad of other toys he carefully assembles in a semi-circle around me until play and smiling commences. Our home is a boon to the dog toy industry, but I digress.

So the dog wins, every time. He never gives up once he is on this mission. I play with him and his

squeaky toy (or his beloved blue rubber earth ball he is resting comfortably within here in this picture) and smile. He generally keeps going as playing with monkeys is what he lives for. That, ice (he has an Ice Use Disorder which is beyond the scope of this post) and treats. Not a bad life. His job is to get us to smile and play. He succeeds in his mission even in the midst of a horrific pandemic. There are probably a lot of lessons our genus and species can learn from dogs about what really matters in this world.

I understand that readers who get this far will know intuitively that my world has gotten very small as I am writing and posting about dirty old dog toys, but there it is. This is what I am grateful for this week. The other truth is that our dogs have been a significant element of our COVID-19 support system, a fact that Mr. Tweaks, as evidenced by his ability to flip a dog toy into my face when I am having a rough day is quite aware of.

This week, I am grateful for dirty dog toys (that don’t smell too good either). I am grateful for a dog with an unwavering sense of purpose to play, interspersed with a wide range of dog yodels. It is hard not to feel better when a dog is running around you squeaking a monkey with all 17 pounds of his being in order to get you to smile and play.

What is better than that in the middle of winter, during a pandemic?

What are you grateful for today?

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