I don’t know what you did during the pandemic, but we got a puppy.
Answering an ad in the local paper, we got her from a farm family in the Shenandoah Valley. All ten puppies in the litter got farm names, the girls: flowers, the boys: tractors. We chose a girl, the best looking of them all, we thought. Her name is Daisy.
We feel pretty lucky. Daisy is a really smart puppy. But oh my goodness, she is all puppy, with boundless energy, voracious appetite, and insatiable desire to be loved.
The boundless energy has been a great pandemic remedy for our household. Just a stroll through our back section of woods clearly wasn’t enough to tire this pup, so we’ve been taking advantage of the trail systems through the Virginia foothills and mountains near our farm, getting out as often as we can for good long hikes with Daisy in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“A tired puppy is a good puppy,” Mike likes to say.
Even so, a puppy needs home time to chew, shake things around, and explore her environment with paws and mouth. We laugh when she takes a dog biscuit and acts out burying it in the corner of the dining room, and I like to put treats into heavy boxes to keep her busy for a while with plenty of appropriate items for destruction– boxes become shards of cardboard, and our shoes remain relatively unscathed.
Daisy gets a burst of playful energy every time we sit down to supper, at the end of the day, the time to wind down. Trying to view her obnoxious dinner time behavior as training opportunities can get hard when she is biting our feet and pawing at our knees — effectively driving away the possibility of peace.
So we were completely delighted when grandchildren Willow and Gilly showed up with a bag of fleece dog toys for Daisy from grandmother Carolyn.
Daisy loves the toys, she chews on them and swings them around and brings them over someone to pull.
I prefer the actual Tug-a-War toy for playing the pulling game. Also made of fleece, the Tug-a-War is designed to give a degree of protection to the human hand tugging just inches away from sharp puppy teeth. I can even play with one hand and eat a grilled cheese sandwich with the other, and the puppy is satisfied. And when I take two hands on the toy and get serious, Daisy and I can both get quite a workout.
Mike has worked out a toss and catch game with the rod, soft and a perfect shape for both throwing and catching, and it is delightful to see how proud Daisy is to both sit and be ready for a throw and then leap up to catch the rod on the fly.
Another nice thing is that after a game, we can toss the toy over to the dog and she will keep playing for a while by herself. I’m not sure how we would have made it through these puppy months without the cosy toys from Carolyn, who in turn used these toys to help get her through these strange times of social isolation.
Our granddaughter WIllow wrote about the project…
HOW MY GRANDMOTHER SURVIVED THE PANDEMIC
by Willow Polson
During the pandemic my Grandma was looking for something creative to do. She was finding herself becoming frustrated because every time she sat down to have a little think, her dog wanted to play!
Pretty soon his toys were becoming quite ragged, and she couldn’t just go to the store to get new ones because…of…the……PANDEMIC!
What does every good woman do? She gets busy and solves the problem with crafts!
First she had to find the right material. What would be strong enough to stand up to canine teeth?
Because she had shelves FULL of colorful fleece, that needed to be the answer!
Big ones, small ones, tug-a-war ones, they all received a soggy approval! But the best thing about these toys is that the tiny ones work for playful cats, too!
When I called Carolyn to thank her for the toys and rave about how nice they are, she said she loves making them and wishes she had an outlet.
“I’d like to sell them so I can keep making more,” she said. “And then I’d donate the sales proceeds to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.)
So that’s what we are doing, putting Carolyn’s handiwork in the Living Traditional Arts SHOP to get playthings out into the world for the benefit of pets and pet owners, and all of us who like things made by hand.