My name is Bitzy. I didn’t get the name when I was made. I only got it once I came into the home where I live with my best friend, Boomer. He’s a Golden Retriever and we are inseparable.
Yes, I’m a dog toy named Bitzy. It was tough for me to wrap my stuffed head around at first, too.
I was made to be a dog’s best friend, but in the factory and then in the store, I had heard a lot of awful stories about how many dog toys don’t make it or don’t last. They maybe get played with for a little bit, but then they’re forgotten, like the joy they brought didn’t matter.
But see the thing I’ve learned about joy is that it’s important, no matter how long you know it or where you find it.
I’m so grateful for Boomer. He carries me with him just about everywhere he goes.
We’re kind of like a couple. People actually call us Bitzy and Boomer when they see us coming, especially on our nightly walks with Mom and Dad through the neighborhood. The lady next doors actually laughs out loud when she sees Boomer carrying me in his mouth.
I think we both get a kick out of it.
Boomer sleeps with me each night on the fluffy part of his dog bed.
I’m not sure how I got this lucky, but I’ve been with Boomer since he was a puppy. When Mom first found me in the store, I couldn’t believe she picked me for the little Golden puppy at her feet. Some of the other toys kind of sneered at me when Mom put me in the cart.
I know they were just jealous.
Some of them even told me as we walked away that it wouldn’t last. I’d be garbage in a week, something for mice and rats to shred.
That made me shiver a little bit because I wasn’t sure. The toys that told those stories just seemed so certain. How could things be different for me?
But they were different. Boomer and I bonded that first night. Oh, how he would chase me around the house and toss me in the air and chew on my legs and his sharp little puppy teeth would dig into my stuffing and I knew I was helping keep them clean as they were developing in his mouth.
I know a lot of people think toys are just a joke, but we’re really not. We do a lot to help the animals we are made for. There are probably some humans who get that, but a lot don’t.
Boomer and I know what we are to each other and that’s what matters.
I can’t tell you how happy I was to be there for Boomer as he grew up and became the amazing dog he is today. See, that’s a toy’s job. We get made to provide companionship and activity for a four-legged friend, so to be able to supply that makes me feel complete.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to the store where Mom bought me just to tell the other toys that life can work out exactly the way you want it to. But then I wonder what became of those toys that were with me on the shelves and I stop thinking about that in favor of being dragged into the kitchen with Boomer for dinner.
Mom takes care of me. She washes me up and makes sure I’m as clean as I can be for Boomer. She reattaches my legs when Boomer gets a little too excited and pulls on my stuffing.
See, Golden Retrievers are good when hunting fowl. They don’t grab all that hard onto the prey. Instead, they carry it in what’s called a soft mouth, so it’s not completely destroyed for the hunter. That’s why Boomer loves to carry me in his mouth. He’s doing what he was bred to do.
Goldens also make good guide dogs and I can totally see that in Boomer. He’s always looking out for the people in his life: Mom, Dad, the kids, the neighbors.
He’s really an amazing dog.
I’ve noticed recently, though, that Boomer seems to be slowing down a bit. It’s hard for me to remember how long we’ve been together, but I do know when I first got here, the kids were little and the oldest is going off to college next fall.
So we’ve been together a long while.
There’s some grey hair around Boomer’s muzzle now and our walks through the neighborhood are a lot slower than they once were. If I could talk, I’d probably tease Boomer a little about his advancing years.
It’s the middle of the night a day or two later and it dawns on me, rather abruptly, that Boomer won’t be around forever. Living beings age. I never fully understood the reasons behind it. It’s just one of life’s certainties. As I watch him sleep next to me on the dog bed, I wonder how much time we have left. I wonder what will become of me when he’s gone.
A shiver runs along my legs and as though sensing something, Boomer snuffles and tosses a paw across my stomach.
I hope he somehow can remember what we are to each other, what we mean to each other. When he jams his cold doggie nose into my neck, I truly think he gets it.
In that moment, under the moonlight, next to Mom and Dad’s bed, I decide to love this beautiful dog for exactly how long I get to and be grateful and happy and proud for what I’ve been given and what I’ve been able to give in return.
The Boomer and Bitzy story won’t end just because we do. That’s the thing about real love – it can never truly be destroyed.
And it’s so very, very special – no matter where you find it.
Jennifer Vanderau is the Publications and Promotions Consultant for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter and can be reached at email@example.com. The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at 263-5791 or visit the website www.cvas-pets.org. CVAS also operates a thrift store in Chambersburg. Help support the animals at the shelter by donating to or shopping at the store.