A Dog and a Stick: a Tale as Old as Time
True happiness can be found in many places, however one place it is always found is in the bond shared between a dog and a stick. No matter the size, length or condition all sticks evoke the same love, intrigue, and excitement through the eyes of a dog. Sticks have an innate ability to not only evoke happiness within dogs, but this happiness is often contagious, bringing joy and laughter to owners and passersby alike. Who can’t smile at the sight of a wiener dog happily parading around a stick three times the length of its own body for all to see? Much like humans search for gold, dogs search for sticks; and who wouldn’t want to show off such a monumental find to the most important people in one’s life? Whether found on the trail or in the field, each stick your dog finds has a unique story to go along with it.
Coming from a family that spends considerable time in Northern Minnesota, our dog Josie has collected enough sticks to build a second cabin. Alongside each new stick found, there is a story to be told that brings a smile to the faces of all who hear it. While dogs’ adamant obsession with sticks may seem odd when considering the plethora of new dog toys on the market, sticks still stand tried and true as the first toy dogs ever interacted with, and as such continue to remain a staple play item for dogs worldwide. Similar to bones, sticks can be gnawed on endlessly and provide a texture, toughness, and aroma dogs can’t get enough of. While dogs’ continuous fascination with sticks might be hard for us to fathom, there are considerable benefits this activity entails. Active chewing is common during the teething process as it provides relief to sore gums and reduces the overall discomfort experienced during this transition. Chewing can also assist in cleaning dogs’ teeth and gums by scraping away plaque and tartar buildup. Although discouraging your dog from picking up a stick may not always be an easy task, you must be careful and attentive! A dog owner must always attentively watch their dog while engaged with a stick as a splintered piece can damage gums or become a choking hazard.
Many also forget that in the grand scheme of world history dogs were domesticated relatively recently. Up until now, dogs were wild animals living the entirety of their lives outdoors in the natural environment. It is only in recent times that dogs are viewed by many as an extension to one’s own family and as such are now entitled to birthday celebrations, medical care, and “all-natural dog diets.” As such in today’s world many of our dogs live better lives than we do. Who wouldn’t have an issue living rent-free with medical and board provided? It was only a couple of decades previously that dogs lived the majority of their lives outside in the land of a thousand sticks. It was commonplace to drive through the country and other rural areas and see dog houses decorating the lawns of many houses and farms alike. While that may not be the case today, and dogs are mostly living indoors, it still hasn’t severed the age-old bond shared between a dog and a stick. With so many fancy, new toys now on the market, sticks will continue to remain a free, fun, and timeless toy for dogs no matter where they are picked up along the way.