35. Playing Without Expectations

Sir Oliver's Granny

According to my previous idea to make sir Oliver a toy, today I made him a toy with rabbit skin/fur. I had some left over rabbit fur strips with no purpose in my haberdashery stock. I had been hiding these strips for the cats, so I figured it must have some attraction on animals such as cats and dogs.

While I was looking in my sewing room for the rabbit fur strips and a piece of sturdy fabric, I had no idea what to make yet. Normally I approach such things with a plan. The only plan I had was making sir Oliver a toy. So after gathering some fabric, fur and sewing thread, I imagined that it would also be cool to have some handles made of robe or shoelace on the toy. That would made it easier to pull and throw or retrieve the toy when playing with it. I did find a shoelace so I was ready to go.

Still no plan to what I should make of it. What form should it have? I decided to let go of a plan and simply start. I cut out a rectangle of fabric and looked at it. What could this be? I then folded the rectangle lengthwise and cut out 2 pieces in the middle to form a bit of a bone shape. For a moment I judged myself for going with an easy and predictable shape such as a bone. I did not let these thoughts stop me from continuing as I normally would like to give up at a point of judgement and feeling incapable.

Next thing I had to figure out was how and where to put the fur strings. I decided to place 2 lengthwise in the width of the fabric. When I make things, I normally look at whether it is beautiful, this time practicality was more important. I used some seams to form a bone head at each end and sewed the shoelace into the seam of the bone head. I filled it with synthetic filling to not make it too heavy and closed the fabric bone by hand.

The whole thing was a tiny bit too oversized and quite ugly to my taste. Nevertheless I was proud at sewing within the moment without a plan and enjoying myself.

I went downstairs to sir Oliver and acted silly with the bone to get his attention. I let him smell the new object and he was interested. I moved the bone on the floor pulling one side of the shoelace. He got excited while I was acting excited as well. The article I had read had explained how to do it, so I applied what I had read. Then I threw the bone a little bit away and went after it together with sir Oliver. Throwing the bone every time a bit further and when sir Oliver picked it up I pulled a bit at the lace so he would try to keep the bone.

We actually played! Sir Oliver got excited and not only relocated the bone, he also enjoyed chasing the bone together and interacting. I was surprised how he liked this toy opposed to the ones he already had. When still in the middle of our play I ended the game, as suggested in the article. They stated that it’s better to stop when it is still enjoyable then stop when the dog gets bored and not interested anymore. The dog will remember the last part and associate play and the toy with boredom. I have no idea if this is reality, so I will find out when playing around with this kind of dog games. When finished I’d put the bone away in a drawer, so it will be kind of new every time I get it out of the drawer and the game keeps being excited for sir Oliver.

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