\ No substitute for a favorite toy. Or is there? | Blog: The Pet Shop – servintservers

No substitute for a favorite toy. Or is there? | Blog: The Pet Shop

Dan Loman News & Record

Nightwing, like probably most dogs, is a creature of habit and routine.

At 7 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon, he knows it’s time to eat.

When I let him out after I get home from work, he knows he’s going to get a baby carrot treat.

When he hears a leash move, even if by accident, he is SURE it’s time to go for a walk. Talking him down from that can take some time.

He’s much the same way with his chew toys. First, it has to have a fabric exterior and it should be the approximate shape of a can of tennis balls.

If it doesn’t have a squeaker, he’s really not interested. If it has multiple squeakers, he is all in. So when we find one that he absolutely loves, we worry about what will happen when that toy ultimately undergoes a squeakerectomy. No squeak, no fun.

A few years back, we found “the one.” It was called Sal the Salami and it checked every box for Nightwing. He loved to gnaw on it, shaking his head vigorously from side to side and then prancing — yes, I said prancing — across the room to one of us for a game of fetch.

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We would throw Sal across the room, Nightwing would tear after it, shake it a little bit, and then prance — there’s that word again — back to us for another round. Sometimes we’d sling sal into the kitchen so Nightwing could slide across the tile floor (never not funny). This could go on for 10 to 15 minutes and almost always ended when one of the humans got tired of throwing it.

If someone — anyone — out of the blue said the words “gimme that,” Nightwing would race off to find his beloved Sal and bring him to us.

As with all good things, Sal’s time was limited. And when the time came to “retire” Sal (OK, he was headed for the trash — he was pretty gross by this time) the search was on for a replacement.

But how do you replace a favorite? Sal was irreplaceable. We went online and searched for Sal the Salami and, surprisingly, came up empty.

Never one to give up on a gift quest, my wife began looking for alternatives. And she found them. Tons of toys that fit the parameters. But which one to get? Just because something meets a set of criteria does not mean his majesty is going to accept it.

After a bit of squeaky soul searching, we settled on a two-pack of plush squeaky toys — a pink pig and brown cow.

When the package arrived, there was trepidation in the air. Would he like one of them? Both of them? Neither? Would he hate us for “retiring” Sal? Well, no, of course not. Dogs are incapable of hate. Still, we were worried.

We tried the pink pig, and it turns out our worries were unfounded. Nightwing heard that first squeak and lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. One fling of the pink pig across the room and all was well in Squeaky Happy Land.

In fact, we tossed out the ragged Sal and new pig at the same time, and he picked the pig!

Nightwing had his new favorite and — bonus — we had a back-up favorite for when the pink pig had to be “retired.” You can never have enough favorites.

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