Rugby loves his little polka dottie piggies more than life itself, it seems. Not only have they become a wonderful coping tool for him to use when he’s overly stressed and wigging out, but they really have become his best little buds. He’s rarely without at least one nearby, and more if he can manage it.
Rugby typically has a favorite piggie at any given time, and will look for that favorite if it’s the specific one that he wants. He plays so gently with them that they last virtually forever! And on occasion, he doesn’t mind playing with one of his quiet piggies who has lost the ability to grunt. But clearly, the noisy piggies are his obvious favorites….given the choice between the two!
Any time he gets a new piggie….it becomes the favorite for a while….until the newness wears off, I guess! But while it’s still new to him, he takes it everywhere with him, and naps with it as well. He will often nap with it tucked right under his chin, where he can hug it to himself, and use it as a little pillow as well. It’s a common sight at my house, and it always makes me smile!
Part of what makes his piggies so much fun, is the various ways that Rugby chooses to play with them!! When Rugby wants to play piggies alone, he lays down and grunts on his piggie over and over and over again….working over the whole hog. He doesn’t grunt in one place on his piggie. He’s figured out that he can make different sounds from it if he grunts it in different places on the piggie. He will alternate grunting several times….taking the entire piggie in his mouth….and licking it with sweet affection and love.
By evening, Rugby is really ready to engage his Uprights in play! He prefers “Pig Toss” with his daddy….which is simply fetch played with two or three piggies. When you grab them by the snout to toss them, you can get some good distance, and Rugby just loves that! He races after the piggie and brings it back, dropping it within reaching distance, knowing the momentum will let it roll or bounce to us….and he takes off again, waiting for the next throw.
I also play “Find the Piggie” with him. I can hide a piggie in a given room of the house, and send him to find it. He knows the rooms of the house pretty well, and will go search in that room until he finds it and brings it back to me. This video is one from an early training session where he was still learning how to find them! This was a brand new piggie that he had never seen before, so he wasn’t exactly sure how this game was played.
But his very, very favorite piggie game is simply herding me with his piggies. He loves to jam a piggie against my legs, ankles or feet and trip me as I try to walk away. When I stop walking, if it’s before he’s ready to be done with the game, he will continue to pin the piggie on my leg over and over as he gleefully grunts!
When I sit down, and often before bedtime snuggles together, he enjoys a good little game of “Growl and Grunt” on my arms and shoulders and legs! He loves to press his piggie into any body part he can easily access, and he play growls as he pushes it and pulls it away. It’s almost like a game of keep away, only he has the prize! He offers it….and withdraws it….play growling as if to say, “Neener, neener, neener!! You can’t get it!” And trust me….he is absolutely relentless when he’s ready to play piggies!! Oh my goodness….the dog has tenacity to a fault when it comes to his piggies!
Sometimes, I think back to that ordinary day that I happened to see his first little blue polka dottie piggie in a local discount store….and had to grunt it of course….because it was the cutest thing I had ever seen. It was about five dollars, and I knew it wouldn’t last ten minutes with Rugby, because of the thin latex. He’s only gutted one piggie in all of those years, and the company has fixed the problem that caused Rugby to dig in and tear it apart. He was just devastated to lose that first piggie too…and that might have had an effect on him as well.
That was in 2009, and the rest is history! Once he made peace with his very first blue piggie, he’s been just crazy about them ever since!! I’m so glad I let my frivolous side purchase that first blue piggie….against my better judgment that it would never last.
The love affair between Rugby and his polka dottie piggies has become legendary, and it is something that never, ever ceases to warm my heart and make me smile as I watch him play. It’s a match made in heaven, no doubt about it!