This month I was over at the grocery and happened to be passing by the
pet toys section when I noticed a small plush toy hanging from the rack.
It was small and white and reminded me of a tiny dog — a puppy. Looking
closer I discovered that the toy was supposed to be an Arctic Fox. They
do a lot of this type of marketing anymore — products geared around
environmental stuff and where a percentage of the proceeds goes to
environmental organizations. This one was by Sergeant's, a well-known
company dealing with pet supplies here in the U.S. The donations for
the "Protected Wildlife" series of toys go to the National Wildlife
Federation. If, that is, you go on-line and register the toy (ah, there
always seems to be a catch).

I bought the arctic fox toy. Not so much for the support of the
environment, although I think that's great, but simply because it did
look like a small puppy.

My dog Sasha has been getting very maternal lately with her toys. I
think it is instinct of course: she wants to have puppies. But there's
no way I could afford the $1000 or so it takes to get a dog through a
pregnancy. So she won't be a mommy.

I thought the fox toy would help. And in fact she did seem to take to
it like one of her babies. Although she will take it between her teeth
and squeak it and shake it occasionally (Mommie Dearest?), she more
often than not makes sure the toy is close to her, keeping it safe.
She will snuggle against it and wash it, even to the extent of washing
its bottom.

Which is perhaps too much information.