Strange attachments

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.


11 responses to “Strange attachments

  1. Pingback: Judy Mintz: Strange attachments « NESCBWI Kidlit Reblogger

  2. Appreciating a meditation on this bizarre toy. I’ve never known anyone who owned one before!

  3. Judy,
    Had I known you then, I would have been happy to have adopted your puppy. Thanks for sharing this side of yourself.

  4. I’ve seen those things! Real cats are definitely better than fake dogs. But I know what you mean about hating to throw out something that was expensive but turns out to be a lame toy.

    I’m going to get a real dog this summer. *Shudder*.

  5. Made me laugh. So many memories of similar silly toy pets! First to mind: Teddy Rukspin, a VERY expensive toy which my ex-mother-in-law insisted on giving my very young daughter, who was perfectly happy with her many inexpensive dolls, and our “real” family cat and dog. But it was the “toy of the year” and pretentious Nana felt her only grandchild had to have one. I accidentally poked poor Teddy’s eye in while cleaning — picking him up with one hand by his head, just to move him a few inches — which caused his entire nervous system to go haywire (i.e. he stopped working). So we had to spend a $100 to send him to the “Teddy Rukspin Hospital.” All from accidentally poking his eye in. I wonder what Freud would say?

  6. Robots can take any form or shape and there are even humanoid robots.
    Some people look forward to the day when they can purchase a fully programmed soul mate who welcomes them home with just the right hug, cooks a fantastic dinner , cleans up everything without complaint,listens attentively and appreciatively , converses intelligently ,laughs and cries sympathetically, and is never boring, smelly or sick. Come to think of it, she would make an excellent mother-in-law.

  7. Not sure I should comment on this one, never having let a battery-operated toy enter the house, unless some visiting child sneaked one in past the metal detector. Everyone knows that wooden blocks make kids smart and that wooden trucks and trains will guarantee admission to an elite institution. But a sleeping electronic dog? Might it cause brain damage? Just kidding, of course.

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