Melting snow means doggy treasure hunt

Half of my backyard is a pond — temporarily. This happens every spring. As the snow melts on my property (and I suspect my neighbors properties), the water runs downhill to collect in an icy pool by my lilac bush. The weather warms and the pool dogtoys040414-4becomes a muddy mess, helped along by my dog Oreo and his friend, Dexter. Then, magically one day, the ground sucks up all the water and I have a lawn again, more or less.

Yes, spring is a transformative time for many a backyard, and dogs love every second of it. What dog doesn’t like mud and slushy snow? Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the season — for my dog Oreo that is — is the uncovering of all the toys he left outside before the first snowfall. These treasures emerge with the daffodils, but unlike the delicate flowers, some of the toys don’t look so pretty after months beneath the snow.

dogtoys040414-3Just a few days ago, Oreo and Dexter uncovered a few ropes, which they used to play a rambunctious game of Tug o’ War. They also discovered some Nylabones and a soggy tennis ball.

Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate the wealth of toys that would emerge this spring. So I recently purchased Oreo a new toy, which I think is worth mentioning because it’s been such a great toy for him. If you have a dog that’s an “aggressive chewer,” you should read on.

dogtoys040414-5Oreo can destroy just about any toy. It’s comical. Sometimes, I buy him a toy and then try to guess how long it will take him to tear it to smithereens. For example, the other day, I bought him a cheap doggy football made of tough material and rope. He destroyed it in a few hours. Here’s a visual:

A few hours before this toy met Oreo, it was a football with ropes on both ends.

A few hours before this toy met Oreo, it was a football with ropes on both ends.

But Oreo’s most recent toy appears to be indestructible. In fact, I think it’s the toughest toy he’s ever shown an interest in. It’s a black KONG ball.

For a while now, I’ve had the wrong impression of KONG toys. Last summer, I purchased Oreo a classic red Kong chew toy to stuff treats in. I’d heard that KONG toys were rugged, so I filled it up with chicken broth, popped it in the freezer, then let Oreo have it when it hardened into a nice cool treat. Oreo ate the frozen broth and a large portion of the KONG toy before I realized what he was doing. So I threw away the toy and decided that KONG toys weren’t so durable after all.

dogtoys040414But recently, as I was perusing the dog toy aisle, I noticed that KONG makes red and black toys. The black toys are more durable, according to the packaging. So I decided to give Kong another try. Oreo has had the black ball for about a week now and he’s only managed to put a few bite marks in it. It hasn’t cracked. No chunks are missing. And he chews the thing all the time. I don’t know if you can appreciate how amazing that is.

OK, enough about dog toys for now. But feel free to post in the comment section below if you’ve discovered any great dog toys that people should check out this spring. It’s time to get out there and play with your pup!

Oreo sticking his tongue out at me for taking his picture too much.

Oreo sticking his tongue out at me for taking his picture too much.

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at