Way back when, not long after I started attending college, I developed a bad case of puppy fever. Of course living in a college dorm meant, sadly, my dreams of owning an adorable little fuzzbutt of my own would have to wait. At some point, I don’t remember exactly when, a few friends and I attended an event held by a local shelter. They had pet products for sale, with the proceeds going towards helping homeless animals, and I bought a few things for my future puppy. One of the things I bought was a “Snuggle Puppy”, a cute little stuffed dog that came with a little plastic red heart that made sounds to mimic a heartbeat. My future puppy’s, Kitsune’s, first toy!
For the rest of the time I attended college the snuggle puppy called my dorm room home. Flash forward to March of 2009, Chris and I were living in our first (pet friendly) apartment together, and adorable, 9 week old, Kitsune joined our little family. I finally got my puppy! The snuggle puppy was bigger than he was! We used the heartbeat feature to comfort him in his crate at night, and anytime we had to leave him home alone. He snuggled and played with his puppy every night, starting on his first night home with us.
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It didn’t take long before he started displaying some interesting behaviors with his snuggle puppy (and a select few other toys). I wrote about them back in 2014. He would suck on his toys, while at the same time “dancing” with them, or kneading them with his paws. Between that and how often he’d lick his snuggle puppy, we came to refer to her as his wife. Pretty much every single day, normally right before bed, Kit spends time kissing and dancing with his wife. I think it helps relax him. It’s been over 11 years now since Kit and his wife were first introduced, and he still to this day spends time with her every single evening. The problem? As you can imagine, after 11 plus years of daily play, Kit’s wife looked about as good as you’d probably expect her too. This was her right after we moved in September…
Yeaaah….She was looking pretty rough. I think that’s an understatement. Kit still played with her, or perhaps I should say with pieces of her, every night. I tried getting Kit a new snuggle puppy to replace her, but it didn’t work. He didn’t want much to do with the new one. I think, at this point, he’s attached to the scent of his wife rather than what she looks like. The new one just didn’t smell right. It was time to break out my sewing kit and get creative!
I started by trimming up what was left of his wife. I set aside as much of her body as I could salvage, her nose and mouth, and the white patch from the top of her head. Snuggle puppies have a Velcro opening on their tummies, so you can put the plastic hearts and heat packs inside. Instead of those things, I filled the new snuggle puppy with pieces of the old one. I figured the more pieces of the old puppy that could be “salvaged”, the more familiar it would smell to Kit.
Next I took what was left of the body of the old toy, and fit it over the new one. Luckily, even though the new snuggle puppies don’t look exactly the same as the old ones did, it fit pretty well.
I hand sewed the pieces of the old toy, as best I could, over the new toy. Next up was her face. Poor Chris thought this was a bit gross, but I hand stitched the mouth and nose area, as well as a white spot from the top of the head of the old toy onto the face of the new one. The mouth area has always been where Kit liked to hold/kiss his toy, so I thought that transplanting it onto the new one would probably be the key to getting Kit to accept the new frankentoy.
Here was the finished result. A bit strange for sure, but not nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be…
Now the big question – was all this for naught? Would Kit want anything to do with his wife post makeover!?
Yes!! He immediately took to it like nothing at all had changed. After a few days away from his wife, while I was working on fixing her, he got super excited when I gave her back to him. He’s back to his nightly randevus with his lovely wife. You can see in the video above, the white patch on the top of his wife’s head is already falling off, but I think that’s ok. My guess is that now, even if pieces of the old toy fall off over time, he’ll be attached enough to the new one to not mind. Luckily, for the most part, my repairs seem to be holding up well. I actually did all the repairs a couple of months ago, but the video is from this week.
Was doing all this a little bit extra? 100% yes. But when you have an 11 year old dog, who you completely adore, you do what you can to keep him happy. Kit only interacts with a very select few toys these days, and his wife has been his favorite for so many years. Doing his nightly kneading ritual really seems to help him unwind at the end of the day.
Does your dog, or other pet, have a favorite toy? Have you ever repaired a broken toy for your pet? Comment below! We always love hearing from our readers.
Kit, Fen, and I would like to wish everyone a happy Valentine’s Day! May you all have someone in your life who you love as much as Kitsune unconditionally loves his favorite toy.