Happy Independence Day!!
By now you've probably seen the video of Nicki finally playing with a toy. If not, here's where you can find it. If you love rescued animals - it'll make your day.
I was initially still hesitant to think that this new joy would carry over to other toys. I had shown Nicki squeaky toys before while shopping at pet supply stores. Her reaction was odd. She seemed almost afraid of the squeakers. She would look at me uncertainly while sort of ducking her head and turning away. Because of that, I figured she didn't care for that type of toy. When my daughter broke down that wall with a squeaky Easter Bunny, I dared to hope that her love of play might just have been temporarily thwarted by the abuse and neglect she had endured. I started buying toys. Lots of toys. I soon learned that her preference is squeaky toys that are furry but don't have tons of robust stuffing. She wants to get that squeaker quickly. This has resulted in the untimely demise of a good number of fuzzy squeaky toys.
Recently, my friend Holly suggested an outing to Runnings with Nicki, me, and her rescued Border Collie, Rue. Rue was one of the Sprakers Border Collies. Google that if you can stand some heartbreak. She was virtually feral when Holly got her. Rue has made so much progress it's just heartwarming! Holly's great with her dogs. All ten of 'em! She's also our groomer and pet sitter! And general guardian angel. She thought (and I agreed) that taking Nicki and Rue into a pet-friendly store during less-busy hours would help both dogs with socialization and being at ease with unfamiliar surroundings. Nicki's mastered this already. Stores mean treats, so she loves everyone in stores! If not treats, stores at least mean lots of people who love dogs. Zero down side here! Hopefully, Nicki's example helped Rue to see that the unfamiliar was no longer something she need fear. It's not a done deal. But Rue was much more comfortable with the idea as the adventure progressed.
At one point, we headed down the pet toy aisle. I saw a likely candidate for Nicki, based on the preferences she had recently shown. I picked out a toy and squeaked it for her, then dandled it above her head. No shirking away! She leapt for the toy! She grabbed it and began playing with it! Right there in the store! I was amazed again! She dropped it and turned away, so I picked it up and put it back on the hook, which was just above floor-level. Nicki saw me take away "her" toy, went over to the hook, grabbed the toy and gently pulled it down from the wall. She didn't disturb anything else, she simply went and got her toy. She then proceeded to carry it around the store!
Of course, I bought the toy and we brought it home. When she stayed with Aunt Holly recently, she came home with the same toy in a different colour scheme!! Aunt Holly loves to spoil this girl! She now has two favourites!! But I'll be ordering bags of replacement squeakers in bulk soon.....and I'll be overjoyed to do it!