I’ve lamented recently about the dearth of acceptable toys for CCI puppies. Soft plush toys can be shredded (and eaten) in minutes. Ditto anything made of squishy rubber. Rawhide is verboten, as are deer antlers (the latter because they might harbor bacteria or “unapproved chemicals”).

Hard rubber “Kongs” are still okay, and we regularly fill Dionne’s with cream cheese or peanut butter. We freeze the whole thing, and give it to her (and one to Tucker) when we’re leaving them for longer than usual. They love them — but they don’t play with them around the house.

What has been a staple toy of early puppyhood in our house is the empty container. An empty plastic half-gallon milk bottle makes a lot of noise and slips away easily, provoking chase. Tucker and the pup sometimes play keep-away with them. But the other day, I decided to time just how long Dionne can now play with a bottle like this one:

It was discouraging. Within five minutes, the plastic around the opening was so badly shredded, it was beginning to cut her gums.
A chunk was missing entirely (and in fact, we now suspect it was that that provoked her stomach upset last week — since it clearly was NOT swallowing the thread and needle.)
Next I gave her an empty water bottle, but it fared no better.  Within 5 minutes, its neck was trashed.
So sadly, we’ve resigned ourselves to discontinuing use of the bottles as dog toys. I feel much more understanding when Dionne brings in sticks from the garden to gnaw on — but then I take THEM away from her. I also draw some inspiration from the annual Hambone Awards, which I read about the other day upon the announcement of this year’s winners. Sponsored by a pet insurance company and given in honor of the year’s most unusual insurance claims, the awards supposedly were named for a dog who devoured an entire Thanksgiving ham after being accidentally shut in the refrigerator. Some of my favorites from this year include the following. (I have highlighted the most mind-boggling bits.)
First place: Winnie the mixed-breed dog who munched on a two-pound bag of frozen onion rings, which led to a turbulent tummy and potential onion poisoning.
Dingo the 48-pound mixed-breed who dined on two dozen uncooked bread dough rolls, causing yeast-related alcohol poisoning. And…
Luke the Labrador (Emerald Isle, N.C.), taken to the emergency animal hospital for surgery to remove a golf ball accidentally swallowed while ‘retrieving’ it in his backyard.
 The runner-up was Natasha the Siberian Forest cat  from Oakland who was treated for shock and hypothermia after the cat’s owner’s roommate accidentally completed a wash cycle with the curious feline inside the machine.
That last one would never happen to a CCI puppy.


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