Former fighting dogs playing with horse toys

What do horses and pit bulls have in common? One thing may be a love of toys. The Vicktory dogs at Best Friends have been enjoying a whole new game lately, and they have the horses to thank for it. There’s a ball made to hang from the beams of a barn or horse stall. It’s made of hard plastic and meant to withstand constant assault from horses, who will bop the balls around all day long for fun. They’re pretty durable toys, to say the least.

Horse toys for dogs

The folks working with the Vicktory dogs (fighting dogs rescued from the property of former NFL quarterback Michael Vick) got to thinking about these contraptions. How would the dogs react to something like this? Remember now, these are dogs who often treat anything new with the deepest suspicion (kinda like elementary school kids when something different pops up on the cafeteria menu). Still, the Vicktory dogs have made progress in dealing with new and unusual things. And they need to continue improving in that area. So the caregivers decided to try dangling one of these horse toys from the top of their outdoor play areas (all of which have wire mesh ceilings to prevent escape) and see what would happen.

Not since the invention of the disco ball has a spherical object dangling from the ceiling been such a hit! Some of the Vicktory dogs were practically doing back flips to leap up and swat at the new toy. Now and again, the staffers would tie one end of the rope to a stick so they could raise and lower the thing like a piñata. Willie, a brawny fellow who loves as much physical activity as he can get, was hooked from the word go. This guy might as well have been riding a rollercoaster. He kept coming back for more, and more, and more … until his caregiver finally had to take the ball out to give Willie a break. Any guesses what he’s going to dream about at night?

Vicktory dogs continue to make progress

Admittedly, a few of the dogs were not quite as impressed. Sometimes that first tap on the ball was a true shocker. "What the heck?! The thing moved!" But overall, the dogs enjoy this newfangled gift from the world of horses. A small thing, maybe, but it’s another example of ways in which the Vicktory dogs are making progress. Little by little, they continue to realize that this wacky world we all live in can still hold some wonderful surprises.

To keep up with the progress of all the Vicktory dogs at Best Friends, bookmark the Vicktory dog page.

Photo by Gary Kalpakoff