White Dog had been sleeping comfortably on her back against my legs but the noise woke her. She rolled to her belly, alert, and peered over the foot of the bed. Steve and I had heard it, too. Some pup was playing; we heard the rattle and then the squeak. Steve reached down beside him. It wasn't YoYoMa, our king of toy players, who was still curled up like a sled dog fast asleep. Steve left Puff fast asleep in the oxygen kennel when he slipped back into bed to awaken WD and I.
Steve carefully and quietly raised himself up on an elbow to see.
It was Bella, trying to be stealthy as she pulled Snake from the toy basket and explored his length. He mouthed the word "BELLA" and I had to lean up to take a peek. My Constant Companion is very attuned to me and my movement; she looked up as I changed position. She quickly grabbed Snake and with him dragging behind her charged through the dog door. She was even intuitive enough to know to give her head a swift jerk to propel the stuffie's long body through the door efficiently.
This was the first time our Tiny Dancer's had shown any interest in the massive White Dog Army toy collection. And we were very excited by her action.
Most of the collection comes from White Dog's younger years. She seldom bothers with them most days now but sometimes in a playful mood she will pull out an old favorite and initiate a game of fetch or tug. Puff loves to destroy stuffies, especially when she is in season...and she is a merciless murderer. The stuffies have been mended many times and are missing arms, ears, squeakers, eyes.
Yo has become the toy master in the WDA. He regularly brings them out of the basket and lovingly arrays them around the house where at any time, he will seek one or another out (he seems to usually have a specific one in mind) and cuddles it, noms it, or carries it around. Most mornings one of the stuffies gets the honor of joining our Boy as he makes his first trip outside to take care of business; they do not always come back in with him.
Snake has remained on the deck all day without further attention by Bella. She DID growl, "its mine!" at Yo when both were outside this afternoon and he went over wondering how the creature managed to slither outside. It will be interesting to watch my slippery girl and see what how she reacts to her new discovery.