About a month ago, I was reading through posts in Google Reader and an article on these new, organic dog toys caught my eye. Not so much that they were organic or natural, but because the author’s dog wasn’t able to destroy them. Anyone who knows Lexi is well aware of her destructive tendencies. Our friends have found stuffed animals de-stuffed, shredded blankets and pillows, and torn apart cushions when they come to check on our dogs if we’re away. We’ve learned to put everything away before we leave (although, sometimes we forget). My mom comes to visit with her dogs and inevitably leaves her dogs toys here. In a matter of hours, those toys are ripped, de-stuffed, de-squeaked and altogether sad looking. I’d throw it all away, except that Sadie likes to carry the empty toy carcass around (and also “bury” it in her dog bed). So, forgive me if I become cynical when people talk about “tough” dog toys.
I found Purrfect Play on Twitter and sent a message that if she ever wanted a true destructive tester for her toys, I had just the dog. We did some of the usual correspondence and a few weeks ago a box showed up on my doorstep. It contained a dumpling toy (with a squeaker inside) and two wool balls – I think it was a large and jumbo. You can see them in the photo above. I added a tennis ball so you can get an idea of the size.
I wasn’t sure if the dogs would like the wool balls, but they did! Even Cassie carried it around and pushed it with her nose, and Cassie usually doesn’t play with toys. Of course, everyone wanted one ball at the same time, even though there was a perfectly good second one lying around. I guess I should note that one of them was a “second” – not as pretty looking, but cheaper to buy, although I couldn’t even tell the difference between them. I could have sworn that those balls would have been shredded and picked apart by the end of the night, but even now, they’re still intact!
The dumpling comes with a squeaker inside. The squeaker is what makes Lexi go crazy. Once she finds out there is a squeaker buried inside a toy, it becomes her mission to get it out. She’ll start by gnawing on a piece of the fabric with her back teeth until she makes a hole, then the stuffing comes out bit by bit until she can rip the hole open. Then the squeaker is found, removed, and punctured. The toy is now “dead” and therefore ignored. Until Sadie finds it and carries it around in her mouth. Poor Sadie. All she ever gets are deflated toys.
As the dogs were chasing each other trying the steal the wool ball, I squeaked the dumpling. I immediately had everyone’s attention. I threw it across the lawn for Sadie to fetch, but Lexi was much faster – probably motivated by that squeaker. Thus, the destruction testing began. By the end of the night, that dumpling was covered in dog drool but it was still intact! Since it had lived through one day, I kind of forgot about it. Then, a few nights later, T found a chewed up squeaker on a dog bed and we figured Lexi had been successful (we couldn’t find the actual dumpling).
Then, Pam e-mailed me to see how the toys were doing and I felt I should try and find out what happened to the dumpling (not that I was ignoring her! I was just giving the dogs time to break in the toys!) Apparently, the dumpling was living under the bed where Lexi sleeps. It’s really a place of honor, previously held by this obnoxious squeaking rubber chicken, as it’s the toy Lexi takes with her so no one else can have it.
What I found was a relatively intact dumpling! I don’t know where that other squeaker came from, but the dumpling still squeaks and while there is a hole chewed on one corner, you can see that it’s double-layered and the second layer is untouched.
Verdict? The dumpling passed the Lexi test. It still has a squeaker and is pretty much intact. I like that I didn’t have to clean up a bunch of stuffing from it. I’m also impressed that the dogs didn’t try to shred those wool balls. You may have a totally destructive dog and are rolling your eyes at my endorsement, but I swear the only other toys to survive Lexi are the obnoxious Bad Cuz and a different rubber chicken (the first one lost its head). These really will survive any dog, if they’ve survived at our house! Plus, you can feel good about supporting a small company providing safe, natural toys for your pets (they have cat toys, too!)
Because this is already so long, I’m going to make you wait for the next post to see Sadie playing with the toys. T took a bunch of pictures of her one day as she was doing her typical silly-dog stuff.