One of Atticus’ Christmas gifts was “Brown Bear” — a small plush stuffed animal with a green scarf and stocking cap (with antlers!) and a squeaker. In the almost ten months since I adopted Atticus I discovered that once we passed a certain threshold in the number of toys, he stopped looking through my shoe rack at night for entertainment. He had preferences but nothing like the near-obsession with Brown Bear.
With the other toys, he would amuse himself with pushing them over the edge of the bed then jumping down to retrieve them. With Brown Bear, he grasps him and dares me to take him back. He starts with cute throat noises, then escalates to growling and sharp barks if ignored. He wants Brown Bear tossed but wants to play tug and fight for him too. He will do this until he pants. In order to get needed sleep, I have designated a high shelf as a nest for Brown Bear. When Brown Bear is put up, we can all rest while the slobber dries.
His play reminds me of the way Ling Ling would pester you to toss a favorite toy which he would retrieve repeatedly until he was wheezing.
Atticus was just over 10 lbs (4.5 Kg) at the last vet visit but doesn’t look obese at all. I suspect that when he was in a house with a lot of other dogs then in the shelter he was too distracted to eat much. He prefers to do most of his eating late in the day. In the afternoon I slice off and dice about an ounce of FreshPet Select Chicken and Rice. Giant Eagle carries it in the one pound roll that lasts almost two weeks. He seldom eats it right away though, but when he does, attacks and kills the first few pieces, then takes the remainder away from the dish one piece at a time to eat.
His dry food is Fromm’s Gold which we get from Romani’s — the five pound sack lasts six to eight weeks so we replenish the supply and get the groomer to clip his nails in the same visit. Technically a dog his size should have between half and 3/4 cup a day. The Atticus nutritional unit is the Kong-full. He gets upset if there is not a supply of dry food in his bowl (like you can do with cats) but he won’t eat it until you put it in his Kong toy so that he can stalk and capture it. On a typical evening we go through two or three Kongs of kibble.
He was reluctant to go out when there was a significant amount of snow on the ground. At first I carried him out and let him down to take care of business (plus kept puppy pads near the door just in case). After a day of two of this, he started wiggling to get down, now he jumps off the walk into the snow on his own and looks for foot trails and tire tracks to use when the snow is especially deep.
Now the seasons have started to turn again. The ground is bare of snow many days and one sunny afternoon this week we discovered tiny purple crocuses blooming in the lawn.
So goes life with a little dog.