Saturday, June 12, 2010
Father & Squeaky Toys
(Father playing by the pool)
Imagine if a middle aged man from a primitive culture were introduced to modern society for the first time in his life. Further imagine him seeing all of the technology while he quietly takes it all in. However, when he spots a three year old on the floor playing with Tonka toys, the man in an excited state bends over and grabs the toy from the kid and starts playing with it keeping the toy as his own.
Well, something similar happened to Father in the first summer he was at our house. By this time, Father had been ‘at’ the house for around 9 months and ‘in’ the house for 6. My mom and I were in the living room. Father was at the ‘round’ end of the couch while Abby was on the floor playing with a toy. Without warning, Father spontaneously leapt off the couch, grabbed Abby’s toy, jumped back on the couch and played with the toy. Up until this time, Father was cool and stand-offish. He had dignified air about him. We thought he was an old guy uninterested in playing. He, or so we thought, wanted to eat, sleep and keep company with us. Frivolousness such as this was unthinkable when it came to Father.
The toy was a cloth-type toy which had a squeaker in it. The dog has to bite the insert just right for the toy to squeek, and when it does, it is a high-pitched noise, which I imagine reminded Father of a small animal. Probably the same kind of small animals that Father likes to eat. Father wouldn’t just play with this toy; he attacked the toy and kept at it until he ‘killed’ the squeak. By killing the squeak, I mean he would bite so hard that the teeth would puncture the insert where the noise came from when pressed.
Abby was as startled as my mom and I were, but after the initial confusion of what seemed like bizarre behavior, we started to laugh. Fortunately, Abby wasn’t possessive of her toys. For the first time, we thought of Father being cute and more of a pet, rather than an old guy down on his luck who was in dire need of assistance. I also realized that Father probably didn’t know what these toys were when he first saw them. It was only when he saw Abby use them did he know they were toys and how to play with them. Sadly, what should have been an experience he should have had when he was a puppy was deprived from him by neglectful and uncaring owners, and he was experiencing them in his later years.
We were able to give Father his youth back, and it was fun to watch him frolic and play. His love of the squeaky toys continued until the end. It wasn’t a problem with Abby. All she wanted to do with those toys was to play tug-o-war with me or a dog. With Andy, it was a different matter since he too loved the squeaky toys, more so than Father. It was with these two that I would have to keep an eye on whenever a new squeaky toy was brought into the home.
But on this day, it was fun to watch Father learn how to play and enjoy himself rather than simply surviving and getting by.