Daily Dose of Cute

We recently had to retire Dudley's BFF Piggy, because Dudley had played with Piggy so much that he'd reached the squeakers. So one day I snuck Piggy away to the kitchen bin heaven, and soon afterward brought home Monkey, who is Dudley's new BFF.

There has been much squeaking and tug-of-war fun with Monkey, as well as lots of cuddly naptime.

As I mentioned when we first got Dudley, just over a year ago, he came to us baffled by the concept of toys, after life at a racetrack where he was never given any. I said then: "One of our challenges is to bring out the happy-go-lucky inner dog in him. Too much enthusiasm scares him, so it's confidence-building first, and then we'll learn how to have fun!" A year later, I feel like we've had real success. He is an extremely playful pup now, who will actually go and get toys (especially his yellow blanket) and bring them to us when he wants some playtime.

It is a marked difference from when he first arrived, and would cringe away if we lifted a hand too high in an attempt to play.

I have noted before the surprise with which Dudley is greeted now by his foster parents at the rescue, who remember the timid, anxious, unconfident dog he was when he came off the track—and I sometimes imagine, when I look at him now, what he makes of that distant past.

It is said that dogs don't remember, but this morning Dudley gave a terrifying shriek in his sleep. I ran into the other room where he slept and called out his name. He leapt up and looked at me with what I would swear was a look of relief, and ran to me with a wagging tail. I knelt down and he put his head on my shoulder. He wanted to feel safe.

And then, he wanted to play.

We went out into the backyard and ran in mad circles together. When we came back in, he cuddled up with Monkey on his big tartan pillow beside my desk, where he gave a big heaving sigh of contentment and soon fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.

He lies there often while I work, sometimes napping and sometimes just resting, keeping his big brown eyes on me in the hope I might drop a bit of sandwich.

And when he wants to play, I play—because he needs it; because he is owed at least that much; because he is a survivor, just like me.

Dudley and Monkey in Two-Legs' office.

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