Our dog Kita had a favourite toy. It was a series of plastic sausages strung up on a length of rope. Every morning he would run up to me, sausages in his mouth, and present his toy, encouraging me to play tug-of-war with him.
He also liked to chew on the rope. Since we returned from holiday his jaws seem stronger and it did not take him long to destroy the rope, leaving threads all over the floor. Eventually, all that was left was a single, ropeless, sausage. The other night he cried softly as he held that lone sausage in his mouth. "Where has my rope gone?" he seemed to be asking us, for that was the part he preferred.
Last night we purchased a new toy for him. It was a loop of rope through a tennis ball, well shaped for tug-of-war games. When we presented this toy to Kita you could see the joy suffuse right through him. Suddenly his ears perked up, his tail wagged wildly. He took the toy and spun around and around with it, running here and there. It wasn't just the excitement of owners come home or a fresh bone, Kita was genuinely delighted with his new toy.
It felt wonderful to make someone, something, that happy.