When we got to my parents’ house last week, my mom had bought Silas a new toy.
It turned out to be the scariest toy of all time.
This is supposed to be a hedgehog, but obviously it is an armadillo. It’s a big toy, as you can see from the picture. Mom was hoping that a toy made for bigger dogs might be a little sturdier.
The problem with Armadillo is not that he’s a big toy, though. You see, Armadillo does not squeak. Instead, he grunts. Oinks, maybe? It’s a much lower/deeper sound than any toy Silas has had before, and it terrified him.
If it hadn’t been so sad it would have been hilarious. Silas wanted to play with Armadillo so much. Then it would make that sound, and he would back away barking. We would throw the toy, and he would run after it, but he couldn’t pick it up. If he grabbed it, you see, it would make that noise. Eventually he learned to take it by the legs or the head, where there isn’t a noise-maker.
I’d say we’re solidly in frenemy camp now. Silas plays with Armadillo by making a wide variety of grumbling noises at it, while he takes tiny flea-bites at it with his teeth. I don’t know what that means, psychologically, but at least he’s not afraid of the noise anymore.
(Edited to add, many months on: I get a pretty good quantity of e-mail about the Hedgehog/armadillo toy. Apparently it has many fans. As far as I know the original toy came from Wal-mart. I’ve looked everywhere online for one with no luck, and ours is long gone. If any of you knows the brand name, feel free to post in the comments. I don’t know what your chances are of finding one in-store, but it’s worth a look.)