Junior turns 9

My baby is turning 9 years old tomorrow. After Casper’s death at a young age, I always had this fear in me if Junior could make it to old age. Touchwood, insipte of having some grave health issues in the past, Junior will be celebrating a healthy 9th birthday. I am beyond happy and wish him more and more healthy years to come.

But, we are not celebrating. Last year I had thought that we will celebrate next year as we were in lockdown. Who knew, this year we would be in the same situation. Infact worse. The second wave of Coronavirus came like a disaster in India and we lost a lot of our loved ones.

However, let’s look at the positive. Junior has already received so many gifts from his friends, especially from Kolkata from his friends Brad and Pitt (Labradors) who happen to share the same birthday as Junior, that I am jealous…..ha ha ha ha! Each year, he gets more presents and wishes than I get on my birthday. And I am so glad to see so many dog lovers all around who do not consider their pet’s birthday lightly. Each birthday is mile stone that our dogs lived another year of being healthy, and moreover, they are still with us; as we know they do not live as long as us.

But I have planned to make this day special for him. Unfortunately, I cannot feed him anything besides his medicated dog food. So I am going to take him to his grandparents’ house (my parents). He hasn’t been there since last year because of the pandemic. And my parents too are super excited for him to be with them. Not that my parents haven’t met him. They come to my house to meet him, but tomorrow Junior will be spending his day with them. Besides my parents, my brother too is highly anticipated in spending the day with him. And my brother is Junior’s second favourite human after me.

Aren’t grandparents’ so cute! My mom has been telling me that she will bake a cake for him, even though he cannot eat. And she has warned me to not say a word in this case. Yes, she won’t feed him as his health is a priority. But she wants to still bake one and complete his birthday.

My brother has decided to then take him for a small drive as Junior loves car rides. We cannot wander around much because of the lockdown restrictions. And my Dad has just decided to clear the house and make space for Junior to run around. That’s his way of showing love.

Let me inform you, these are the same parents who never wanted dogs…..ha ha ha ha! And now they are planning his birthday. He is the same Dad who had once asked me to give my dogs for adoption so that I can remarry. But now, if I get any marriage proposal, his first statement is, “my daughter will get married only if Junior is also accepted, or else we are not interested.”

As I have mentioned before, Casper’s death changed the entire perspective of my parents. They never hated dogs. But his death left a void even in them that made them realise how important my dogs are in my life and even in theirs. It hit them harder than accepted.

Though I wish I could have called Junior’s friends home and had a little party. But looking at the circumstances, it is better to be safe and not meet many people and keep everyone safe. Hopefully, next year when everything is over and Covid19 becomes history, I will celebrate Junior’s birthday at a pet café or restaurant with his friends, or take him out of town where he can run and play freely without any leash.

As of now, I am excited to take him to my parents’ house after 1.5 years and waiting to see his reaction. Have a good time with family together and this way, my parents and brother will also divert their minds from the ongoing stress and anxiety. Hopefully, it all turns out well. I would be happy to know how you’ll celebrate your pets’ birthdays and do share some pictures. It’s always a pleasure to see these pooches happy and goofing around.

Reviewing Dog Toys

Over the years, I have a bought a lot of toys for Casper and Junior. Unfortunately, I had to donate everything when Casper passed away, so I cannot show them or review them for you. Although, Casper would predominantly only play with Tennis Balls, and, at times, with a tug-of-war rope with Junior, later I again bought a lot of toys for Junior. So today I have decided to give an insight of what toys Junior plays with, which are worth the money, and, which are absolutely useless.

Let me start with brain stimulating or treat puzzle toys:

  1. Paw Puzzle Toy:

As you can see in the video above, Junior still doesn’t understand this quite as much. And in just a few minutes, he gets bored and leaves it. This toy is expensive, and, really not that worth the money. Personally, I do not recommend this.

I actually have a free and better alternate for this toy. Make your dog smell some kibble or treats and then keep your dog in a room while you hide the kibble or treats in the house. Let your dog out and command him to search. This way, he is physically and mentally active and also will spend a good 30 minutes searching for the treats.

  • Wobble Toy:

While you can see in the video, Junior has chewed on the toy rather than making an effort to remove the kibble. This toy is still better than the above one, but one of the biggest con is that if you do not have carpet at home, then you will have to keep getting up again and again to remove this from below the couch or dining table. Again, it is expensive and not worth the money. Another alternate for this toy is to get a snack rubber ball where your dog will run, and also be rewarded with treats falling out of it.

Indoor toys:

  • Kong Ball:

I highly recommend this. Woefully, I cannot remove a video of this as Junior is on medicated food due to Pancreatitis and this toy needs a binding agent like curd or peanut butter (which I cannot feed Junior just yet) to lick on or to keep the kibble or treats from falling out. I propose you put in some kibble, then add curd or peanut butter (if your dog is not allergic to it), then add kibble and curd or peanut butter again till it’s full and freeze it. Once frozen, you can give your dog and he/she will relish it and also be occupied for a long time. Since Kong Balls are expensive, another proxy for this is to take a cucumber, remove all the seeds and make it hollow from the center and fill it with kibble/treats and curd/peanut butter, freeze it and then give it to your dog.

  • Suction Tug – Of – War Toy:

This is a really good toy. A friend gifted this to Junior. It is highly priced. But the problem as you can see is, the suction doesn’t stay for long as shown in the advertisements. You can even place some kibble or treats in the ball to attract your dog towards this toy. But as I said, the suction cup is not effective.

  • Tug – Of – War Rope:

Something else I would recommend. But as you can see, if you have only one dog, then you personally will have to be a participant in this. Junior has always been a fan of playing Tug-of-War as he would play this all the time with Casper. Post Casper’s passing, I became his partner for the same. We play every morning for 10 minutes. This helps me spend less time on my phone and little more on my physical activity. Make sure your dog doesn’t get too excited while playing as that will lead to palpitations and an over exerted dog. Also, as you can see in the video, Junior has chewed up on the handle, so keep an eye that your dog doesn’t swallow it. This is a wallet friendly toy and durable.

Outdoor and Indoor Toys:

  • Squeaky Pink Crocodile:

Absolutely durable, inexpensive, safe and cute. I just throw this toy like a ball and Junior brings it to me for more. Besides playing, Junior loves sleeping with it as well. Just remove 10 minutes of your day and play indoors or outdoors with this.

  • Squeaky Ball:

This is Junior’s by far the most favorite toy. It is a little worn out, that is because this was the first toy I bought for Junior after Casper’s heavenly adobe. It’s been 4.5 years since Junior is playing with it and still doesn’t want to part ways with. Absolutely affordable and I will continue using this by stitching it from where it is torn.

Bonus: Your slippers. Ha ha ha ha ha! I do not recommend this, but this has been a universal toy for all dogs, big or small, any breed. Dogs love playing with our slipper, every house has it, and, no special time required to keep them engaged. They will play with it whenever and wherever.

I hope all the above was helpful and I could help you’ll in saving some bucks. I always get carried away by seeing fancy pictures of dogs toys and buy them, but not all are worth it and value for money. Many are even dangerous as they break or tear and dogs tend to choke on the broken or torn pieces. Be mindful, attentive and smart for your dog’s health.