Some years ago, our daughter got a faux puppy as a gift. It looked just like a sleeping puppy curled up in a little dog bed. When you added a 9-volt battery, it started to breathe. You knew it was breathing because its little stomach would gently inflate and deflate, over and over and over ─ until the battery died.
Since the puppy was permanently curled in a sleeping position, it turned out not to be much fun to play with. And it wasn’t all that soft (which may have been because of the breed, it was a Rottweiler) so petting it wasn’t terribly satisfying either. After the initial fascination of watching it breathe – up, down, up, down, up, down – wore off, its ability to entertain diminished at a spectacular rate. By then, however, it had a name, and a place on my daughter’s bureau, and it was considered part of the family ─ by me.
When the battery died the first time, I replaced it. I had no idea how long it had been dead, days, weeks, months, but when I noticed I rushed to resuscitate it. Buying a new battery seemed a small price to pay to bring the puppy back from the dead.
It was clear that my daughter was not taking care of it as well as I would, so I moved it to the floor in the family room. There it stayed for a few years, an object of ridicule for our cats, and an obstacle to be vacuumed around for our cleaning lady. When it took its last breath the second time around, I thought it best to let sleeping dogs lie. But I wasn’t ready to get rid of it yet.
One reason I was loathe to part with the puppy was that it had been an expensive present. The Rottweiler seems to have been discontinued, but the Black Lab, which has the same form factor (as do, let’s face it, most of them) is still available, for $39.95! I thought they were more, but perhaps I’m wrong. I do know that we had to buy our own battery. Now, these puppies come with a ‘D’ battery. And that’s not all, on the front page of the Perfect Petzzzz website it says, “Watch me breathe. I’m cute, fun and now SOFTER!” Softer! Can that be true? Should I get another one? It would still be inflexible and hard to cuddle, but who among us has not been described that way from time to time?
I did finally give the puppy away, and since then I’ve been making do with our cats. They’re soft, and they spend most of their time curled up in a sleeping position; and their little tummies gently inflate and deflate; and they refuse to be cuddled. The major benefit is that I never have to change a battery.