02 March 2011

Free toy zone once again

Toni is not a sharer by nature. She's not really greedy nor is she particularly interested in whatever it is that attracts Téa's attention. Like many alpha dogs, she just believes it's her right and her job to maintain control of all things interesting or of value.

We do not particularly find this character trait endearing, as you can imagine. A toy management dispute is what led to Toni knocking out a tooth on Téa's head the first week Téa lived with us. This was the beginning of a long line of discussions over who's in charge of toy management. 

"I don't understand what the problem is. I gave her that bit of tennis ball that I was finished with. What more could she possibly want?"

We've learned to get Toni engaged in dismembering something (a squeaky toy, a rope-ball contraption, an Extreme Kong) before roughhousing with Téa. Even so, we have developed a sixth sense for Toni's inevitable attempt to squash all things fun. She lowers her head like a bull facing a matador and then barrels toward us in her own funny sideways run, picking up speed as she goes. We are ready to deflect her now, but it adds a little stress to play time if you're constantly on the lookout for the neighborhood bully.

"These are my puzzle balls. Mine. Mine. Mine. Even if I don't want them."

So for nearly two years, we have been a declared restricted toy zone. The toy bin has been closely managed - kept on a top shelf or behind a door. Toys were only available when someone had the time and attention span to stand alert, ready to break up potential scuffles over a squeaky penguin or a rope with tennis balls at either end or whatever the toy du jour happened to be. 

But frankly, that's just not fun for any of us.

So, after some serious observation and practice sharing, we are proud to announce that we are once again a free toy zone. This is not to be interpreted as "free toys for all who enter," but rather as a "toys roam freely on our premises" sort of categorization. As hoped, Toni is generally unconcerned about these free-roaming toys, leaving them to their business for the most part. As expected, Téa is ecstatic. 

"First I will nibble this pink one. Then I will fling the green thing onto my back again; and then I will give the brown and pink one a shake. Then I think I'll start again from the beginning."

At any moment, she is able to fling a furry frog, romp with a twisted rope or battle with a puzzle ball. Sometimes, we find, she attempts all three simultaneously.

"One...two..three...six...174! I had no idea we had so many toys!"


  1. Ha ha ha! And let the toy clean up begin! They look like very happy girls! :)

  2. LOL, so true! And I see the tell-tale sign of stuffings having been freed from their toy prisons. Such a common sight at my place. Sigh... I have yet to find an actual pit bull-proof toy. Sure, they SAY "indestructible", but come on, people.

  3. I love how they just unpacked them all. We're kind of lucky that both our dogs like different types of toys, though sometimes Miss M will take Mr B's toy just to annoy him. And all he does is look sad instead of trying to get it back. I love your rugs too..

  4. Hurray for the free toy zone! Téa looks just like Tommy gnawing on that pink ball.