Milly has never been destructive. The two worst things she has ever done are counter surf and go through the trash when food is in it – she only does these things unsupervised, too. When I first adopted her she didn’t really understand playing. I bought her a plethora of toys, and quickly discovered her favorites were the plush squeaky toys, which initially she would carry around like babies, place on her bed, and proceed to lick them. It took a few months for her to come out of her shell, and once she did, she happily squeaked away at her toys, tossing her head in the air, and shaking her golden mane like a lion with her tail propelling this joyful spirit. Occasionally, after many months or years of use, the seam of a toy might come unstitched, and I would happily sew it back together for her. With lots of use the squeakers occasionally lose their squeak, so I’ll open up the toys, and insert replacement squeakers as needed (you can buy the replacements at pet supply stores), and sew them back together.
When friends bring dogs over I hide the good toys, the one Milly covets, as I know most of my friends’ dogs will destroy them. They’ll see the plush toy, and to them this is not a joyful stuffed animal to toss about and happily squeak, but an animal that must die. The mission will not be complete until the toy has been dismembered, mountains of white polyfill line the floor, and there are only a few remnants of the toy that was – a plush leg here, an ear there, etc. When such dogs would come over, I would secretly think how lucky I was to have a non-destructive dog, and turn my nose up at this childish behavior.
When I purchased Hush she did not destroy toys – she was gentle with them, and I was excited by the prospect of the toys lasting her a lifetime, like Milly’s have. A few months ago, Hush changed. It wasn’t a gradual change, but an instant change. As if someone took away my gentle puppy, and replaced it with a wild animal, determined to tear the head off of every living stuffed animal in the house! Hush took it upon herself, to kill all of the animals of the living room safari, and not just kill them, but slowly torture them. First, she starts with their ears, if they have them, ripping them from their fuzzy bodies. Once the ears have been removed, she moves to the bottom of the legs, and tears into the feet of the toy. With a good puncture wound in place, she removes the stuffing, before repeating the process on the other legs. Once all legs have been fully gutted or removed, and the ears are nowhere to be found, she targets the torso, saving the sweet head for last.
I take back all the times I looked down on my friend’s dogs who enjoyed destroying toys, for I too, now have a plush preying monster on my hands!