Thursday, 20 July 2017

Luci's diary: how to play the puppy. In both senses.

Funny creature, the little one.

I say “little” partly because Toffee really is little, partly because she just goes on behaving like a puppy, which when you get to be nearly eleven months old, you really can’t pretend to be any more. Well, you can pretend, but it fools no one.

Toffee likes to keep playing the puppy
But I'm so mature it sometimes just leaves me yawning
Now me, I’ve put all that puppy-dog stuff behind me. Long since. But then it won’t be long before I’m three. The humans have come to think a bit better of me these days. I can’t go tearing around all over the place like I used to, and Toffee still does.

Not that I don’t miss it, just a little bit. It was fun. Human number 2’s always good for throwing things for a dog. You know, a ball or a soft toy or whatever. But human number 1 always likes to sit at the end of the sofa, near the long end of the room, you know, where the sitting room blends into the dining room. That means when number 2 throw something it has to go beyond her.

Not a problem, of course. We can just jump over her. Or rather, because when you’re a right-sized dog instead of one of those silly giants that seem to inhabit the park these days, you need to have places you can jump to and then from again, once your legs are ready for another effort.

The thing about number 1 is that she has a really nice, comfortable front to land on and take off from again. So I’d land on her before taking the second leap to reach the floor and go skittering and skidding over to the toy, or ball, or whatever that number 2 had thrown.

She didn’t always appreciate that. She’d make a kind of “ouf” noise as though the wind had been knocked out of her, and then, once I’d done it half a dozen times or so, she’d say to number 2, “oh, I think that’s enough now. You don’t need to throw that for her any more. Do you?”

Of course he needed to keep throwing it. But when number 1 says something in that tone of voice, it’s better not to answer the question, but just obey the tone.

“Of course, of course,” he’d say and stop throwing the toy, pretending to concentrate on the telly instead.

Well, these days it’s Toffee that does the jumping. The “ouf” is a little less intense because Toffee is, after all, just a tad littler than I am. As for me, as becomes a near three-year old, I just sit on the back of the couch and watch. With a small trace of envy, I have to admit. It reminds me of carefree times, before I took on the responsibility of a young dog. It would be unbecoming, but there are times when I wish I could do that too.

Still, I think I’ve found a good solution. Now it’s Toffee that bounces on the belly and goes sliding over the slippery floor, her claws scrabbling away, to grab the toy (she particularly favours a little stuffed lion whose nose she’s chewed off). All I do is watch and wait. And when she’s nearly back at the sofa, toy in mouth, panting and expectant, ready to beg number 2 to throw it again, I go into action. Off the sofa I come and dart across the floor like a flash, on an intervention course. And Toffee fails to spot her impending doom every time. Seconds it takes me, sometime barely a second, to grab the toy from her nerveless jaws. Then up I get on the sofa again and refuse to hand if over to number 2 to throw again.

And I growl. How I growl. Toffee knows I don’t mean it but there’s just a little bit of her that isn’t quite sure. So she stays down on the floor looking a bit piteous, and yapping uncertainly from time.

“Grr, grr, grr,” I growl at her, and she lunges briefly forward before backing away again nervously.

Eventually, Human number 2 takes pity on her and takes the toy to throw again. But I don’t mind. Because it’s just a chance to start all over again.

Clever, isn’t it? I can get as much fun as ever, but without making anything like the effort. And without looking like a puppy again. Brilliant.

Having a littler dog around does have a bit of use, then. Sometimes.

Toffee with her silly lion toy.
They're even the same colour

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