Snow covered the entire couch in my living room.

That’s what it looked like, anyway, when my dog tore up his latest toy.

Freddie is a toy-motivated dog, so you’d think he would value his toys because he loves to play so much. But it’s not the toy itself he loves. It’s the play.

And it’s not what most consider playing with the toy as much as it is destroying with toy.

I had just gotten the living room straightened up and was enjoying what seemed like a clean house. I’d been to mail some things and returned to the house with a reusable shopping bag I’d packed with a few things from the car I’d been meaning to bring inside.

Freddie followed me into the kitchen with the bag. I didn’t unpack it. It was just some canned goods. I’d do it later.

First, he growled. And growled. He’s not the kind of guy to growl at nothing, so I looked to see if he had a toy stuck someplace or he saw a mouse. Nothing. Then, he began barking. I ignored it. As with a child, sometimes you have to ignore the whining. That’s what Freddie was doing: a doggie version of whining.

I continued with whatever I was doing, and the barking continued, too. I turned to look him in the eye every now and then. He’d then turn to look at the bag on the counter.

Finally, I checked the bag. There is was: a lamb dog toy. The one his Aunt Shelly gave him. I had saved it for presentation at an appropriate time, like when I had to distract him while I was working.

Freddie doesn’t just get toys whenever I buy them. I try to keep a stock of them and dole them out as needed. If there is no real need, he will still get a new one once a week, on average. I usually hide them in a closet or drawer, but he has caught on to that. Hiding them in the car is a new approach.

But I was lax. I didn’t check the bag I used.

I was caught red handed. There was a toy. In that bag. No doubt about it.

Now, Freddie was on his hind legs, staggering around like a drunken sailor, begging for that toy. I would never hear the end of it if I didn’t give it to him.

So I did.

I had things to do that day and couldn’t listen to the incessant barking, so I gave it to him.

I sat down at the computer and, 10 minutes later, turned around to find the couch covered in white stuffing. It looked like Frosty the Snowman exploded.

But Freddie’s enthusiasm and love of life, evident in the joy he experiences unstuffing toys, is worth the mess.

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