Yes I realize this is a bizarre title for a post, but in all honesty, how many things or people do we make fun of without ever giving them a chance?  For example, here is a short list:

McDonald’s Snack Wraps — at first glance, these seem like the perfect nutrition scam:  take something unhealthy and make it appear good for you.  When they came out with the Big Mac wrap, I nearly peed myself laughing so hard.  And then one day, literally nothing sounded better.  Guess what — I enjoyed it.  Most of all, I enjoyed the fact that I was eating essentially half a hamburger with a lot less bun than the original sandwich.  So yes, I have to give them props.  It’s still not as healthy as some options, but it was enough to fill me up with half the bad stuff.  So props Mickey D’s — now I can enjoy those french fries with slightly less shame.

Ugg boots — spend one Christmas vacation where temperatures threaten to be as cold as it can feel here and all of a sudden, those fuzzy lambskin snow boots look pretty nice.  Then I tried them on — and quickly became a fan.  Not only are they the most comfortable shoes on earth, they are nice and warm, perfect for hiking in single-digit temperatures.  Yes, I am in love.  (Ugg boots with miniskirts, however, will still earn a good mocking.  Because seriously, you look ridiculous.)

Pets with favorite toys — ok, honestly, this is something that I’ve never really mocked.  I’ve seen it first-hand.  My cat played fetch (yes, you read that right) with a yellow foam golf ball.  Emphasis on “yellow” because he had a wide selection of colors, all of which were only acceptable when “yellow” was MIA.  But for the most part, many pets don’t have a preference.  Take my rat terrier for example, who any toy is acceptable so long as it is in reach.  (Bonus points if it has a squeaker.  Bonus bonus points if toy is long enough to hit people in the face with.)  In fact, this dog has fallen asleep with toys in her mouth, and there really doesn’t seem to be a preference as to which one.  She has favorite types, but honestly, as long as she has a toy, she’s good.
I think the best example of the “favorite toy” phenomenon is actually found in the world of my rodents.  See, none of my rodents have really had a singular favorite toy.  Again, favorite types existed, but no real loyalty to a particular one.  Enter my guinea pigs.  My first pig lived by herself for the first year I had her.  To help with any loneliness, I gave her several stuffed toys, including a stuffed banana and stuffed apple.  Then Bath and Body Works did their winter promotion with the Lambies, and my mom lovingly gave Gipsy her own Lambie.  Needless to say, Gipsy pretty much ignored it, and except for randomly finding it in new places around the cage, there was no evidence that she ever interacted with it.  The following fall, I brought home a real companion for Gipsy — her half-sister Nugget.  Nugget never spent a day in her life away from another pig.  So when she wasn’t harassing and annoying her big sister, she was running and playing.  Despite the fact that Gipsy was perfectly fine being a solitary piggy, Nugget couldn’t handle it.  So Nugget adopted Lambie.

Camoflaged, but very much present

I realize it’s hard to see because it’s been rolled around in a cage with shavings for so long no amount of washing will get it clean again, but Nugget is in fact sleeping curled up with lambie.  Those black things poking out of a sea of tan paper shavings?  Yep, that’s Nugget’s favorite toy.  Heaven help you if you don’t put it back in the cage.  She will squeal for it, and if she sees you move it, she better be able to find where you put it or fire from the sky will rain down upon you and your descendents.  (Don’t believe me?  Try trimming her nails.  If you aren’t bleeding afterward, you get a cookie.)
So no, it isn’t something I’ve mocked, but I know people who do because honestly, to people without pets, it sounds silly.  But it exists.  When clients bring animals in with their “favorite toy,” I make sure to put that toy in the cage with them because who knows?  It might just make the difference in how that pet recovers.

Lesson?  Don’t mock it ’til you try it.  Or, if you’re like me, just keep something handy to repeatedly pry your foot out of your mouth.  And don’t take a Lambie away from a piglet if you want to keep your fingers.

P.S.  I know that most of you might have a hard time discerning head from tail, but Nugget is actually curled up with her head snuggling the lambie’s head.  In case anyone was thinking that it was just a coincidence and that particular stuffed toy was the most comfortable.  Also, one day when something set them into a temper tantrum, I noticed lambie was slowly making its way into their house.  Apple and banana?  Carelessly left in the open.

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