Reindeers and Snakes

Hello, and a happy new year to everyone.

I thought I would start this year, as I have in previous years, by telling you all about Commando’s Christmas.

Christmas JumperEvery year Christmas gets a little more difficult in terms of what to buy for Commando. After all, what do you get the dog that has everything? His power chewing means that only the toughest most durable toys will do. But he already had quite a nice collection of his favourite toys, the nylabones, as a result of birthdays and other times during the year when I felt that he deserved a treat. He also had a couple of squeaking Kong toys which were still squeaking, after a good few months!

This situation was further exacerbated by the fact that, by my own standards, I was quite behind schedule with all of my Christmas shopping, due in no small part to the amount of work from my university course, and the desire to have as much as possible done before Christmas so that I could at least try and take some time off.

But fortunately, as it usually does, inspiration struck. As regular readers will know, Commando is also very fond of his home comforts, especially when it comes to relaxing by the fire. So with that in mind, the first item I purchased for him was a nice new cushion. His old one, although still in fairly good condition had started to flatten a bit, especially in the centre. So a nice big new cushion was the first thing to come home, and then go away for Santa paws. But what else to buy?

Well, the next bit of inspiration came from Twitter. Where I had noticed a few of the Guide dogs I follow (or more accurately their humans) mentioning a toy called an indestructible snake. As I mentioned, Commando is a power chewer and will push his toys to the limit, and in many cases beyond, so I wasn’t sure about just how long an indestructible snake would last. The toy is snake shaped, made of material, with strategically placed squeakers in it, but it doesn’t have any kind of stuffing. I read a couple of reviews online, and had initially thought about getting the full size version, which contains six squeakers. But a few of the reviews I read stated that people had bought these for their dogs, only to find that their dogs were actually a little scared of the thing. Now Commando doesn’t scare easily, but in the end I thought it best to proceed with caution so went for the three squeaker model.

Christmas ToysThen I must admit, my innovation failed me and I fell back on tradition, going for a new kong squeak ring, and a tug toy. So all of these items had been bought and then, of course, sent off to Santa paws, who delivers all of the toys back to good dogs on the big day.

So, the day itself finally came around, and Commando and I were up bright and early. We followed our usual morning routine up to a point, but Christmas day is the one day of the year where I don’t actually groom Commando. This is only because I want him to have the chance to play with his new toys first thing, before we head over to see my parents, and of course Lester. So once Commando had finished breakfast, and relaxed for a while, it was time to see what Santa had brought him. I went off to the room where the items had been kept, and was pleased to see that of course Santa had brought them back for Commando, good dog that he is.

So I made my way back down stairs, with my hands quite literally full, and came back into the living room, to find Commando up on his feet tail wagging away, almost as if he knew what was about to come.

Regular readers will recall the amount of cutting I had to do last year to get into all of the toys, and this year was no exception. But this time, to buy myself some time I first introduced Commando to his new cushion. Naturally he was very keen to lie down and snuggle into it, at least he was until he realized what I was up to in the kitchen. At which point he came in to investigate. I had briefly considered wrapping his presents and seeing if he would pull at the paper to get into them, but in the end decided against it, as I didn’t want to risk starting a potential bad habit, and of course I would have just had to try and find and clear up all of the paper afterwards. So we went with the usual tradition of me getting into the toy, and then presenting it to a very eager Commando.

So toy by toy we went through the ritual of me removing all packaging, often by force, and then Commando taking his new toy back onto his new cushion for a proper investigation.

I must admit, I do love having him surrounded by new toys for him to play with. He gives so much each and every day that it’s always a true pleasure to be able to give him new toys to enjoy. So there we were, by the fire with a new cushion and new toys. Naturally, as soon as he realized that the snake had a squeak he began to give it a great deal of attention, and I began to wonder just how long it was going to survive. But although no dog toy can be truly indestructible, I am pleased to say that at the time of writing this post, the snake remains more or less in tact and is still squeaking away on a daily basis.

So, for the best part of an hour Commando played with his new toys, then it was time to go and see the family and Lester. This is always potentially a bit risky, for poor Lester, as his toys don’t need to be quite as tough as Commando’s, so when we arrive a close eye has to be kept on Commando to ensure that he doesn’t inadvertently destroy any of Lester’s new toys. But as it turns out the two of them were both in quite excitable moods, and so they decided to let off some steam with a dog-off, which promptly had us all scrambling to make sure that nothing too fragile was in the path of the doggy hurricane which had been unleashed. Fortunately they soon calmed down and everyone began exchanging gifts.

Now, I’m sure many people have Christmas jumpers, and I know of a few situations where there have been competitions among employees or students to see who can find and will be brave enough to where, a nice flamboyant Christmas jumper. I actually don’t have any such jumper, or rather I didn’t until that morning, when I opened one that had been purchased especially. I’m told it has a nice big reindeer on the front, so is nice and festive. Getting into the spirit of the season I put it on later that morning and kept it on for the day. After seeing how good Commando looked in his bow tie for my College graduation, my mum was keen to have him don it once again for Christmas. She also got him a bandana from the Guide Dogs Dogalogue, also to where for the day. However it completely slipped my mind to pick up these items before we left to head back to my parents for Christmas lunch… Honestly, I did forget, and wasn’t trying to spare Commando from having to where them again… At least that’s my official excuse…

The rest of the day past off without incident and by mid-afternoon Commando was once again at home relaxing on his new cushion and closely examining his new toys.

I hope that everyone had a very enjoyable Christmas and new year, and that Santa was good to every Guide dog out there.

Comments

sue , 11:47pm Wed 14 Jan 2015:


Happy story .. except for forgetting the bow tie .. I think Sigmund Freud challenged .. "We never forget .. We choose not to remember " I will search for a snake for GDP Seren .. just had her 1st birthday and Christmas .. but .. There is always room for ... a reptilian toy

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Craig And Commando

Craig is in his early thirties and he is completely blind. His blog details the day-to-day adventures he experiences with his first guide dog, Commando.

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