Some of you may know my sister, Ella Bean, the teeniest member of my pack. She is pretty accomplished for a pup, having interviewed Gidget, the famous canine actress who was in the Sex and the City movie, and appeared multiple times on our pal Shadrach's blog.
One of the best parts of having Ella Bean as my sister is that she has never, ever tried to play with my toys! Well, until now. Seems all of a sudden, Ella has taken an interest in toys for the first time ever. Hmph. Though, luckily, she has left my froggy alone. But the downside of that, was she also never wanted to play with me and I am a super-duper playful beast. I'd play fetch all day, every day if I could get the humans to continously throw the ball!
Ella Bean was rescued from a puppy mill situation between 3-5 months of age. Our mom says that because of all the time Ella spent in a cage, she missed out on object stimulus and doggie/ doggie play time during her brain development. Its common for pups raised in bereft environments to show no interest in toys or play. This environmental impact is not just evident in dogs. Human children raised in impoverished environments show decreased frequency of object related playtime throughout their lives.
This is SUCH a bummer because playtime is the best time! (Well, next to raw meat and bones chomping time.) This lifelong interest in playtime is unique in humans and dogs, 'cause most mammals don't play when they become grown ups. Take a yummy cow, for example. As a calf, the cows play around with one another and their calf pals, but when they grow up, they just hang out, chewing their cud and waiting for me to eat them! YUM! Like dogs, Humans still play as grown ups. Some humans even play for their jobs, which I am so jealous of. If I could spend all day running after a ball, that would be amazing...I think thats partly why our species live together so easily. We both need TONS of play time to be happy and healthy.
Recently, Ella has started surprising Mom and me by picking up a stuffed bone and carrying it around, even tossing it around and engaging in Ella Bean sized thrashies. It makes me so proud to see my little sis behaving like such a beast! She has also become more playful with me, instigating chase and wrestle sessions (don't tell, but she can kinda kick my butt).
This new behavior just goes to show that Ella Bean is STILL rehabilitating from her early trauma even though she has lived with us for over a year, but she is making more progress every day.
Engaging with objects is a great way to burn off excess energy and just plain, have fun. So, this makes it extra awesome that Ella Bean has become so playful! Its also a big deal, because of Ella's health challenges from adverse reactions to vaccines that she is contending with. Playtime makes happy and happy makes healthy hormones!
Ella Bean's development also goes to show that with patience and care, dogs who have suffered trauma can overcome unnatural learned behaviors and reclaim their inherent beastliness.
Phew. I am totally pooped from all this playtime and blogging. Time for my OTHER fave pastime - SLEEPIES!