playing santa

I've been checking out the VIP dog toys, trying to decide which one I'm going to get Chaucer for Christmas this year. Last year I spent Christmas in hell, but two years ago I gave him the T-Rex, which I was careful to wrap as inconspicuously as possible, so he'd have no idea what he was getting:

I love playing Santa to my dog. :) He seems to enjoy it, too:

It might be weird, but there are few things I enjoy more than giving my dog a new toy. He just goes berserk. And, to anthropomorphize him for a minute, he just seems so appreciativeI mean, he plays with every single one of them. Nothing goes unloved in his toy basket.

The whole VIP line is amazing and hilarious, and strong. Those suckers hold up. They have different series like "Arctic", "Dinosaurs", "Farm" - and even "My Parents Lied About" which has things like aliens and mermaids. So awesome. Here are the top contenders right now:

The Pegasus absolutely kills me. I'm thinking I might actually get him a couple (on top of, of course, a vast array of other, cheaper toys and chewies), because he's had a pretty rough year, too. I had to leave him for nearly six weeks when my dad got sick. And when I came back, for several weeks afterward I probably didn't give him as much attention and love as he needed, because I was in such a bad state.

And he's really been amazing this year, just generally. Such a rock for me to lean on (often literally) with everything I've gone through. He rolls with the punches and has adapted with good doggie grace to the sometimes chaotic life I lead. We lead. When I was housesitting a few weeks ago, he had to sleep downstairs, because he's too big to go up the tiny spiral staircase in my friend's loft. Didn't love it, but he didn't whine one bit. Last week I dog sat for a friend for a few days, and he had to watch while an interloper stole his toys, his bed, his preferred cuddling spot (she insisted on wiggling under the covers with me at night), and some of his attention. Didn't love it, but behaved nonetheless.

And here he is yesterday, sniffing up a girl on the sidewalk:

Hard to say which of us enjoyed that encounter the most.