Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kill 'Em with Cuteness: Puppy Parenting

Okay, so I think I've officially become that dog owner.  The one who treats his or her pet like a kid.  In my defense, Husband TOTALLY went down this road with me.  And we were both just trying to save our new carpet from the stink.

The Stink of Foxtapus.

Let me explain.

Our dog Riley is one of the sweetest four-legged beings I've ever met.  If you haven't met him yet... you should.  He's a two-and-a-half-years-old Huskador (Huskie-Lab, so he's basically a beautiful white Lab with blue eyes and a fluffy tail), and he's so kindhearted that he doesn't even chew up his toys.  He just kind of hugs them with his teeth.

And Riley loves foxes.  For Christmas he got a stuffed fox without any stuffing, like one of these fellas:

Riley was in Heaven.  He would roll around with Fox in his mouth, grunting and grinning, and we knew he just couldn't get any happier.  Right?


A few months later, a new quadripedal stuffing-free friend appeared on the horizon.  It was the cute new baby to Fox's older, wiser big brother... the Buzz Lightyear to Fox's Sheriff Woody... it was

Foxtapus was Riley's every wish come true.  He SQUEAKS!  His middle is a KONG!  He has TENTACLES!!!  If Foxtapus had been made of bacon, Riley's universe just might have imploded.

At first, Fox 1.0 found himself in the basket with the chew-toy equivalents of Hamm, Rex, and Mr. Potato Head.  As time went on, though, Riley learned to play with both Fox and Foxtapus, gently gnawing on them each in turn, much as Andy learned to play with Woody and Buzz... [cue "You've Got A Friend In Me"]

But tonight, something threatened to rock Foxtapus' very existence within our family unit.  As Husband and I played Keep-Away with Riley and Foxtapus, we began to notice something.

A stench was wafting through the air above our new carpet, leeching its way onto our skin as we tossed Foxtapus back and forth.  It became pungently apparent that our beloved dog toy must have been secretly dragged through a frat house bathroom and baked in the sun for three days.

I gagged and lobbed Foxtapus towards Husband.  He gagged and threw it back.  Keep-Away took on a whole new meaning.  Something had to be done.

How do you wash a stuffed-but-not-really, rubber-bellied, tentacled dog toy?  Like this, evidently:

I really couldn't help but go all cutesy-bootsey Kodak moment on this.  Riley was SO CONCERNED for Foxtapus' welfare throughout the cleansing process.  This cleansing process included a super-heated bath with laundry detergent, in our sweat lodge - I mean, house.

I mean, SERIOUSLY concerned.  If Riley could speak English, in this moment he would have been saying something like, "Foxtapus?!  FOXTAPUS?!  SPEAK TO ME!!!  WHAT ARE MOMMY AND DADDY DOING TO YOU?!?!!?  SQUEAK TWICE IF YOU CAN HEAR ME!!!!!!"

Then our panicked pooch had to live through watching me use the hair-dryer on Foxtapus, whose water-logged squeaker was temporarily muffled to a feeble bleat.

Trust me, Riley wasn't as calm as he looks in this photo.  But at least he seemed to have realized by then that we weren't trying to drown Foxtapus in the utility sink.  And once we were done wringing all the water we could from Foxtapus' tentacles...

There was a sweet and swift (and squeaky) reunion.

So yes, I have become that puppy parent.  The one who lovingly washes out toys at eleven o'clock at night and nearly gets heat stroke from the hot water and blow-dryer in the 85-degree house, so that the furry, four-legged baby can cuddle up to his teddy-bear-equivalent while he sleeps.  And photographs it for posterity.  And blogs about it.

So thanks for reading, enablers. :)



My sweet, beautiful friend Susan brightened up my Monday with this little Youtube gem.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  The song is now my ringtone.

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