I haven't had actual human babies yet, so for now, Tom Hanks is my fur-child. With any child, human or otherwise, comes a lot of toys and accessories. Here are our favorites:
1. Collapsible dog bowls
Available online here, this dog bowl has been with us for two years every time we've gone hiking. It's lined, so it holds both water and food, and has a clip attachment so you can snap it right back onto a backpack after a water break. It makes taking your dog with you wherever - hiking, outdoor concert, dog park, etc. - really easy and convenient.
I'm sure every dog owner out there has one of these bad boys, but just in case, let me sing its praises to you. The Kong is a rubber toy with a hollowed-out inside. It's used as a mental and physical stimulant - usually for when you leave the house - so that your dog isn't bored to death with nothing to do.
You can stuff it with anything you want (that's dog-friendly, of course) - our particular cocktail is two large scoops of peanut butter and three ice cube (the ice puts one more barrier between TH and the peanut butter, making this toy last even longer). Somebody recently told me they actually freeze their peanut butter and then load it in - genius! Anytime I leave the house, I don't feel as guilty when I know that he's in his crate DEVOURING his Kong, and will probably wear himself out and just pass out. I taught him well. #eatingandsleeping
3. Tiny balls
Not to be a Kong spokesperson here, BUT...there is no toy that brings my dog as much spastic joy as this one. We found one of these abandoned in the park one day, so we brought it home thinking it would maybe account for a couple of hours' worth of play.
When we threw Tom Hanks this ball, he lost his freakin' mind. I thought we were going to have to admit him to a doggie psych ward.
He chased this around the house, somehow turning part-cat, pawing it, chasing it insanely, sliding across the floors, and when it inevitably rolled underneath our furniture, he would just come over to one of us and stare at us passive-aggressively until we retrieved it.
They bounce, they squeak a little bit, and they come in a lot of different sizes. I'm telling you - if you haven't already, do it. You will be dying laughing watching your dog turn from a relatively normal creature into a super-spaz. "Go get your tiny ball!" elicits such energy and happiness in our house.
4. The Aerobie
Jordan received this incredible ring as a gift from Emily Yearout, my brother's girlfriend, who is unparalleled at awesome gift-giving. Jordan and I have loved playing with it ourselves, and then one day, we realized Tom Hanks was chasing it. It was like Monkey In The Middle.
If you're like me, and you don't have a very strong throwing arm, it takes about 50 tosses of the tennis ball to actually tire your dog. Throw this disc? Easily 3x the distance that you can throw a ball - TH gets the opportunity to run full-speed and he is totally wiped when we come home.
Be careful that they don't chew it, because that can change the shape - otherwise, this is a dynamite toy for bigger dogs with high energy.
Hope everyone's weekend is filled with lots of playtime, running around outside, eating until you can't move, and flopping to the floor in total exhaustion. I know one dog whose weekend will be loaded all of those things...