Trouble, 12 O’Clock High

Our dog Ellie looks up while playing with her stuffed hedgehog dog toy

“I see you up there little hawk and I’m sure you’re mighty hungry, but know this: you come for my hedgehog, you come for me. My name is Ellie!”

This picture is for my wife who loves Ellie’s soft, floppy ears. I forget what drew Ellie to attention, probably a bird outside or little Sam jumping onto the windowsill, but for a split second she raised her head (and ears) before resuming the serious business of squeaking her hedgehog.

I love this dog.

Some Toys Should Come with a Warning

Our dog Ellie chews on her stuffed hedgehog dog toy on the hardwood floor of our dining room

A few months back my wife picked up this hedgehog from Plush Puppies for our dog Ellie. If you bite its head it squeaks (who wouldn’t?), it grunts when you bite its hindquarters, and it even rattles when you shake it all about.

My advice to Plush Puppies? Put a warning label on your toy!

Something like:

Warning: After she plays with hedgehog, your dog will abandon all other toys. When you throw dear old goose, her first and favorite toy, she will look at you like you just stepped off the moon. Rabbit had a brief moment in the sun but no more. Poor mallard and pheasant never had a chance. It’s all hedgehog, all the time.

I have to say I’m surprised by how much she loves it. Goose was such a natural fit, it squeaks easily — Ellie has turned carry-and-squeak into an art form — and is the sort of quarry for which retrievers were bred. The round shape of the hedgehog makes it harder for her to carry and squeak at the same time, she often has to stop and place it on the ground for a proper squeaking before continuing. And I doubt very much that a dog has ever retrieved a hedgehog in real life.

But whatever it is, the hedgehog has it.