I'd always assumed Ava was one of those dogs that never played with toys. I never saw her play with any of her toys when she lived with my sister, and she hasn't played with any of her toys since she moved in with me. I figured she was the type to play with humans or other dogs, but when it came to toys, she just wasn't interested. And then I found out that, yes, she does play with toys, but not necessarily the type you'd expect.
It dawned on me earlier tonight, when I came out of the shower to find Ava chewing on the shoelaces of one of my shoes. I thought back to the other times I'd find something in her mouth that wasn't supposed to be there: old tissue out of the trash can, a sock, a clump of hair (gross, I know). I realized that out of all those things, socks seemed to be her favorite, so I rooted around in a dresser drawer, pulled out an old sock that I never wear, and gave it to her. Bingo. She accepted the sock with the same amount of zeal other dogs accept a Kong toy filled with frozen peanut butter. She ran around the apartment with it in her mouth. She shook it from side to side, play-growling. She would drop it, run a few feet away, look at it, and then run back full-force and attack it. Never mind the other toys in her entertainment arsenal: Socky is now her new (and only) favorite toy. Talk about low maintenance. Who would have thought that the one thing to keep her entertained was something I had in my drawer all along?
Ava and Socky. Note the discarded toy off to the side.