Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Off With Her Feathers

A few months ago I attended an agility competition. A friend was interested in getting her dog involved in competitions so we drove out to a field in the middle of nowhere with no seating and very little shade and lots of dirt to see the dogs run the course. Meanwhile there were some stands set up selling agility related goods to the participants and spectators (it seemed to just be us). My friend decided to get her dog some real rabbit fur toy like the dogs at the competition had. I assured her Chopper was not interested in toys anymore and didn't need one. She got him one anyway (although she said shew as getting her dog two toys). When she brought him one he went NUTS for that toy. Apparently the hunter in him was awakened by whatever smell only he could smell and he shook that thing around for dear life. (In my defense he sees real rabbits all the time on our walks and shows them no interest so how was I supposed to know a little rabbit fur on some felt would get him all riled up.)

Fast forward a few weeks later and I decided to buy a Marie Antoinette doll from The Doll Farm on Etsy. I had seen one of these dolls at a tea shop in San Francisco during several trips home and had been trying to justify the purchase since I am neither a particular Marie Antoinette fan or a doll collector. But she was funky and unexpected and I wanted her.

This picture doesn't really do the doll justice. She stands about two feet tall and is all handmade. Something I didn't know, however, was that her feathers were all natural. The doll was shipped to my office where she stayed for a few days but I really wanted her at home. My boss was admiring her one day and said "Oh Chopper is going to go after those feathers." I assured her he would not that he doesn't really play with toys anymore (sound familiar?). So I brought her home and while Chopper seemed mildly interested in her as I carried her inside he didn't seem overly interested (it was more the way he smells a Target bag full of shampoo then a bag from the pet store full of treats type of interest). So I placed her on my bed and walked out of the room.

No sooner had I sat down in the living room then I heard the tell tall jingle of Chopper's multiple tags. "What are you doing?" The only response was more jingles. I ran in to the room to find Chopper on top of poor Marie Antoinette and red feathers everywhere. It looked like some red bird had been killed on my bed.

Upon inspection I realized that Marie was quite all right but her feathers were a different story. He seemed to have pulled them out and then tried to kill them.

I emailed the seller and asked if I could purchase more feathers. That's when I was informed that the feathers were natural and she does not attach them permanently because of this sort of thing (how often are dogs trying to kill Marie's fascinator?) and because they fade after some time. It took a few weeks of her searching but eventually she was able to locate the exact same plume for Marie and it arrived safely. I think Chopper was even more grateful than me that Marie was restored to her former beauty - he likes sleeping inside at night.

Two valuable lessons were learned from this entire shenanigan: 1) Chopper does still like toys but only if they contain some part of something that used to be alive; and 2) Chopper was not a French revolutionary in a former life as Marie's head was still intact at the end of the day.