Monthly Archives: November 2012

A dragon that… squeaks?

Last night found me in the dog toy aisle at Petsmart, looking for a Christmas present for one of the special dogs in my life. I don’t usually buy gifts for animals, but had chanced upon a fun one for the dog’s kitty sister—a canvas cube with entrances in the sides to satisfy her box-obsessed side. I didn’t want to cause jealousy, so I went on a canine toy hunt, too. Several facts made this a challenge:

  1. He is a large dog, and quite able and happy to rip apart anything that is given to him; thus, it couldn’t be anything too weak or made of too much plastic or rubber (he tends to ingest toy shreds).
  2. He already has some balls, chew ropes, and Wubbas (brand name for a squeaky ball toy with several canvas tails), so none of those would be original.
  3. He will be getting a rawhide bone as a Christmas present from his own people (don’t tell!).

As quickly as I saw most of the available toys, I dismissed them. Loopy ball? Too much rubber.  Stuffed animal? Too easily demolished. Specialty Christmas toys? Too cutesy. Chew rope? Has that. Squeaky dragon toy?

Squeaky dragon toy?

squeaking dragon

A dragon that squeaks? Image borrowed from Petsmart’s website.

I couldn’t help but laugh at that one. There, hanging by the stuffed animals, was a red dragon with a big, flat belly. That belly was divided into sixteen compartments, each with a separate squeaker inside. It was big enough for a big dog, and my buddy does like squeakers… but as was pointed out to me by his human housemate, he likes to surgically extract squeakers with his teeth and then play with them by themselves. As much as he would have had a blast with the dragon, I figured that sixteen squeakers lying around the house would probably have been enough to drive even the most loving dog parent up the wall in a hurry.

So what did I choose for the Christmas present?

Petsmart was about to close, so I didn’t actually make my final purchase just yet. If you promise not to tell him, though, I’ll let you in on the toy that probably makes the final cut: It’s a fat ring made out of the same material as a tennis ball, and it squeaks, too (just not with sixteen separate squeakers!). It should survive more than a day or two, entertain him, prove harmless if ingested, and stand out as unique. Not quite a dragon, but in a dog’s eyes, still cool.

I leave you with two questions to which I’d love to hear your answers:

What are your favorite dog toys? Do you think pets should get Christmas gifts?

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To kill a dragon…

“Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” – G. K. Chesterton

A friend recently shared this Chesterton quote with me, knowing that I blog about dragons. It occurred to me that the message of the fairy tale isn’t just for children, though–don’t grown-ups need the message that dragons can be killed at least as much as children do? Sometimes I wonder if we don’t need it a little more. It can be so easy to forget about hope, or to assume there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel just because we don’t see it now. Young or old, I would encourage you to remember the truth offered by fairy tales: It may take a fight, but good will win in the end. The dragons can be killed.

The friend who sent me the Chesterton quote has been fighting her own dragon in the form of depression. This is a struggle most people don’t want to talk about, but she has recognized that silence only gives the beast strength. She started a blog to share her struggles, helping those on the outside understand a little more and showing those fighting the same battle that they are not alone, and that by breaking apart the lie that depression is a shameful fight, it can be robbed of part of its power. Whether or not this particular dragon has touched your life, I encourage you to read her story. Just becoming aware could be the first step toward helping someone (or yourself!) slay a dragon. Her most recent post deals with Memories, the Lingering Dragon, and Learning to Swim.

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