Ollie’s Sixteenth Week: Play Dates & Toys Galore

It finally arrived – my being four months old. In dog years, I was around eight, having learned right from wrong – well, mostly. Also, there was no longer any need to ration my drinking water. Things were getting better for James. At least I thought so.

When you reach the ripe old age of eight, what do you want to do? Well, I wanted to play all the time, except when I was sleeping. Of course, I wanted to chew on anything and everything, so James and Ron kept giving me new toys. I had a ton of them. There were so many that they became obstacles leading to a potential accident. Which meant that James became obsessed with picking them up and putting them in a red, plastic, milk carton.

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(Ollie sleeping peacefully and snuggling with his toys from which he can’t seem to be separated.)

As soon as all my toys were safely put away, I began taking them out one at a time and depositing them around the house. I knew what I was doing. There were things like furniture and rugs I longed to chew, so I placed my toys, what James called “chew toys,” where these items were so I wouldn’t be tempted to gnaw on a chair leg or fringe of a rug. Then, wouldn’t you know, James would remove the toys, making the chair and rug more appealing. We had yet to figure out how to communicate.

I was doing my best to be a good boy, what James and Ron called me when I did my business outside got a delicious treat. However, it seemed to James that I was misbehaving and being disobedient when I would, as he said, scatter my toys all over the house. Then, when my friends would come over to play, I left the toys to their own devices.

Yes, I had fun playing with all my friends. As James has often said, he becomes invisible when other people or fellow dogs are around. My complete attention is on these visitors. After all, James is with me all the time. I mean he won’t even leave me alone for more than four hours at night since that’s the limit to my bladder’s holding capacity. (That’s for another blog post.)

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(Ollie having the time of his life with human friends who love to take him for a ride on their toys.)

As I was saying, my toys and playmates took precedent to all else. I thought James was jealous, but the poem he wrote about this indicates he was happy for me. Well, what did I know? I was only eight years old (sixteen weeks – four months).

Without further ado, here’s that poem:

TOYS

there’s
a red lobster
a steely elephant
a black hard-rubber tire
a gray squirrel and green alligator
a brown monkey and a crimson puppy
an orange octopus and a scarlet inch worm
a navy blue shark and a clear sky-blue rubber bone
a yellow crab and a multi-colored ball made of strings
a hard-rubber red barbell and a brown triangle spheres
a yellow and red squeaky rooster and a checkerboard turtle
a couple of wood flavored nyla twigs and a pastel rubber bone
a few kongs on different length rope and several blond nyla bones
a multitude of plastic dinosaurs and a navy with white dots squeaky barbell
and some I’m sure I’ve forgotten

of these many playthings
there are those you consider quite special
such that they comfort you
in your den each night

as you’ve gotten to be a bigger boy
having reached sixteen weeks
every morning you take
each one out of your crate

it seems while in your bed
you no longer want to play
so today they start to stay
in a red plastic milk container

I watch as you
take each one out
of this toy box
to occupy your time and energy
you place specific ones in a long line in the hall
as if for some strategic purpose
yet scatter the rest
throughout the house

some we’ve even taken outside
for your enjoyment in the fresh air
you thrash them about in the grass and dirt
which are then in need of a bath
as are you

we take a few of your favorites
for an overnight at Saddle Mountain
but Jillian doesn’t need a single one
for after being introduced to the other dogs
all you want to do is to hang with the pack

when you have play dates
such as with Scout and Maggie
over to share in your fun
these same desired toys
find a stillness as they are left alone

at home when you are by yourself
it is with these substitute toys that you play
but you frolic with your many friends
when they visit or you are away

something I’ve unexpectedly noticed
while you are occupied with your guests
these same extraordinary toys
are secretly smiling
as they watch you
spreading so much joy

Okay, I think the poem is nice – sweet, actually – but I don’t think any of my toys can really smile. I mean, their stuffed and stuff, if you know what I mean. Sure, one or more might have a smile imprinted on their gob (that’s English for mouth – I am an Old English Sheepdog after all), but that doesn’t mean they were happy for me gnawing on them all the time. James says that’s “literary license,” and he is using “personification” that means he’s giving human features to inanimate objects. James is so smart. (Yippee! A treat!)

We hope you’re enjoying my first year and reading the poems James wrote. Come back in two weeks time and read about sleep – yes, that’s right, what James tries to do at night and what I do most of the time.

Also, let us know your opinion of these stories and the poems James wrote. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a comment about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)

Paw Prints courtesy of www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated
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