My followers will know that we are the proud parents to Gibbs, a gorgeous Flat-coated Retriever.
Gibbs is only 10 months old at the moment, and still putting on muscle. Like all pups, he’s full of beans, and needs lots of exercise and intellectual stimulus to keep him healthy and happy. And, like most Retrievers, one of his favourite pass times, is to splash around in water.
Now . . . there’s a huge dog park, at the kennels where we bought him. You have to pay to go there, so we’ve taken out a subscription which gives us entry to the park all day and every day. Living in the countryside, it might seem wierd to have paid out, to exercise the dog, but the park is HUGE . . . has a couple of lakes, and an agility course. It’s also a great place for Gibbs to meet other dogs and socialise in. While we enjoy a good natter with other dog-owners.
Anyway . . . Gibbs loves for us to throw a stick into the lake, and jumps in to swim after it and fetch. However, one stick looks very much like another, and he sometimes gets confused, when surrounded by several floating bits of wood, as to what it is he’s supposed to be retrieving. I went on-line, to see if there were any specific floating toys for water-dogs. There are, but I was loathe to pay out and started wondering how I could make my own. My friend, Avis, came up with a brilliant idea. An empty plastic bottle! Genius, why didn’t I think of that?
A quick rummage in the recycle bin where I fished out an empty bottle of dairy cream. An hour with my crochet hook and some cheap acylic yarn, and voilà!
I just crocheted a circle the same size as the base of my bottle then crocheted in the round until I had something that fitted half way up. With the crocheted base part on the bottle, I started decreasing so it would fit the shape of the neck. And rather than sew the top closed, I crocheted a couple of chains which I knotted together. The idea being . . . if Gibbs manages to make a small hole in the plastic with his teeth, I can still open the casing, unscrew the bottle lid and empty any water that seeps in before the bottle become too filled with water to float. The chained bits, are also very handy to hold the toy by, as you fling it.
So . . . of we headed to the park, to try out the new toy.
Not only does it float, but it’s very easy to spot in the water, and Gibbs appears to love it. We don’t even have to say “Fetch!”. He knows exactly what we expect of him. Those Retriever genes! So, a floaty toy (total cost, approx 20 centimes and 1 hour of my time), which is now hanging up to drip dry before we go back to the park tomorrow. You can bet, I’ll be saving more small plastic bottles and crocheting up a few more floatable toys, so that we have a replacement to hand should Gibbs ever lose (or destroy) this first one.