Both my dogs love their dollies. Being a Lab, Zsa Zsa has always got something in her mouth and Maia now copies her. With them both having a penchant for stuffed toys things can get quite expensive, so I tend to buy them from charity shops when back home in the UK or from local markets. I’ve also found local chain Marino Fa Mercato a good source of remarkably realistic looking toys, including my latest find – a horrible looking rat with a pink hairless tail.
There is now quite a large collection scattered around the garden and in the house – there is coyote dolly, snowman dolly, pig dolly even the bizarrely named bat-ray dolly as it looks like a cross between a mantra ray and a bat. ZsaZsa often manages to stuff several dollies in her mouth at once plus a rawhide chew, but then, that’s Labs for you.
The majority of the toys are missing their heads, stuffing or the left eye (not sure why it is always the left) and when the dogs get particularly aggressive with the poor dollies, tossing them in the air or shaking them ferociously, I’m reminded of the fact that they are simply doing what nature intended and the dollies are simply prey substitutes being thrown around and disembowelled.
Recently the dollies have been disappearing from the garden. I don’t know what’s taking them but guess it could be a fox. I have been discovering them in very odd locations while on my daily walk with the dogs in the woods behind the house. I found coyote dolly halfway up a rocky cliff and poor bat-ray dolly’s familiar triangular black form was deposited in the middle of some virtually inaccessible thorny bushes. Maia managed to retrieve them and took them home, smelling strongly of fox.
I’ve washed them and they are now back in the garden, but now pig dolly and rat dolly have disappeared. There’s only one things for it – I’ll have to have a stake-out in the garden one night to see who exactly the culprit is. I’ll just have to track down some night vision goggles …