Chewy loves tennis balls. The first ones I gave him he immediately scalped and chewed until they were mere slabs of rubber. In the last year, he’s learned to take better care of them. He’ll chase them in the house or at the park and bring them back to me most of the time. It’s great exercise for both of us.
When I take him to the park to walk off leash, he makes it into a ball-finding expedition. As soon as he finds a tennis ball, usually one that’s worn and has been out in the dirt and rain so it’s disgustingly filthy (or deliciously so by his measure), he carries it with him for the rest of the walk, stopping occasionally to give his jaw a rest, guard it with one paw and check to see if I’m going to try to take it away. No thanks!
When there is more than one ball around, it creates a perplexing situation. At home, he’ll have one ball in his mouth when I throw the other one. He chases it and then stops, not knowing what to do, because he doesn’t want to release the one he’s got.
Today I brought a clean ball from home to the park. He chased it for a while. Then it rolled down a hill right up to a fence that provides a boundary between the enclosure and the street. There he found an old torn up and dirty ball. He let the good one from home go while he proceeded to chew on the yucky one. I refused to go down the hill to join him; there was no way I was going to pry that filthy ball away from him. So I went looking for another ball. There are always many balls in the fenced area. Sure enough, I found a nice newish one and threw it. Chewy ran after it, picked it up and took it down the hill to the area where he now had the ball from home, the awful one and the new one. I urged him to come back up the hill, but he wasn’t having any of it, so I went to a bench and sat.
I could no longer see Chewy from the bench, so that didn’t last long. I finally went to see what he was doing. He was standing at the fence wagging his little curly tail and trying to figure out how to get to the other side of the wire fence. You see, there was yet another tennis ball nestled in the leaves on the other side of the fence and he wanted that one too!
Oy! Enough of that. He wagged. He barked at the unavailable tennis ball. He looked the fence up and down, thinking if only he could jump over it or crawl under it. No such luck. I gave in and walked down the hill, grabbed one of the good tennis balls and urged him to come and get it. He ran up the hill, chased the ball and took it right back to the fence. This is the down side of having a smart (or is it just OCD?) dog. He wasn’t giving up on that unattainable ball.
Back down the hill I went, put the leash on him and dragged him out and back to the car. He can continue his pursuit of lost balls another time.
Of course, they stay on him for about 15 seconds!
I haven’t wanted to eat and moving hurts too much. Ellie takes me out for a walk, but it is so much easier to just sit down. One foot really is hurting me. I howl at Ellie after she turns off the lights at night. I howl when she goes out. I howl when people come in, but nothing changes.
Then Ellie gets up in the morning and mutters to herself as she moves around the house. I pee on the floor before she can put me outside. So she stops and cleans that up. Then she’s in the hall bathroom making lots of noise. She comes looking for me, picks me up, and puts me down into the bathtub in some warm water. I would rather not have a bath, thank you very much. But the water just comes up to my tummy and she doesn’t do the usual scrubbing with soap and bubbles. She just strokes my back and keeps me from falling down. I relax a little, but then I’m ready to be out of there.
Ellie lifts me out of the tub, without much cooperation from me. I just want to get away, wagging all my legs like I’m still in the water and swimming. She dries me off with the usual big towels. While she’s drying me and I’m struggling, she handles my sore foot again and I hear a loud, “Yes! The water loosened it up!” She holds on tight and I howl as she pulls something that’s stuck to my paw. Finally she lets me go.
That was a few days ago. Whatever was making my foot hurt is gone. I can walk and jump again, although I still fall down a lot. Most days I’m doing my peeing and other stuff outside and that makes me feel like jumping for joy.
I love it when Ellie knows what I need! Time for a long nap…
Any critters lurking? Neighborhood noises? Water falling from sky? Food smells? Cold wind? Do I want to jump over that threshold? If I don’t move now is she going to pick me up? Stairs ahead…oy. Couldn’t I just go back to sleep?
The ride to the beach wasn’t that bad. I fell asleep and then suddenly we were there at a house on top of a hill. The wind was big and cold. Ellie brought me into a strange house, lights and music everywhere. We walked around and checked out the rooms. Even with my fur coat, it was cold in there. I saw some steps going down a dark passage, but we didn’t go that way. I heard Ellie mumble about “wood” and “go to the store.” She packed me back in the car and we drove a short distance to a parking lot.
Ellie left me in the car but returned after a little while with groceries and a big bundle that smelled like trees. We drove up the hill to the house and she brought me inside. Then she went back out and closed the door. I heard her grumble and push on the door from the outside, but who could figure humans, so I wandered around and found a rug to curl up on to try and keep warm.
Ellie was gone for a while, but there’s nothing unusual about that. I smelled someone else in the house and a strange man came up the steps from the cavern below. He stomped around while I hid in the room with the bed. Then the front door opened and I heard Ellie.
“Thanks for coming to let me in,” she said.
“The slider was wide open,” the guy said loudly to Ellie. It sounded like a scold–no treat for you, lady.
She answered, “Hey, I didn’t open it! Did you see the dog?”
“I didn’t see any dog,” he said. I saw Ellie run in, panic all over her face until she saw me. “Are you OK, boy?” she asked. All I could think was, I’m fine but could you warm this place up and give me my dinner?
Ellie made a fire in the stove in the main room and it got a little warmer. We had dinner and then she took me for a walk outside. The cold wind was blowing like crazy and I kept falling down the hill. I couldn’t see the ground in front of my nose. She kept picking me up and carrying me like a baby back up the hill. Yuck. I was glad to return to the house and find my bed.
The next day she moaned and groaned while she packed up the car and we were off to another house not too far away. This house was nice and warm inside and there was a glass door in the bedroom so I could watch the grass and the wind and the ocean from my bed. I even got to see some big four legged creatures with stand-up ears like mine. We stayed at this house for a few days, only going out for my walks, which were pretty easy in the daytime, because the ground was flat. At night it was still really dark and hard to see where I was going, but it was less windy than up on the hill.
Ellie spent all her time, when she wasn’t cooking, sitting at the table in the big room and clicking the keys of her writing machines. She seemed to enjoy herself. I had a lot of nice naps in between my meals, walks, and wandering around the house.
When it was time to go, Ellie put everything in the car and took me for one last walk. Then I was in the car too, in the back seat as usual, but I felt trapped. I couldn’t just sit there, so I jumped to the front seat next to Ellie. I missed the seat and landed on the floor, where she had put some coats and a box of tissues. I climbed back up on the seat, but then needed to get out of there, so I jumped to the back. I did this a few more times, then thought I might try the part of the car where Ellie was sitting. She was talking to me in a calm voice this whole time, making her “shhhhh” noises. The world was rushing by outside the windows. So I jumped onto her lap. The car slowed and suddenly stopped with a jerky motion. Ellie made grumpy noises, then picked me up and moved me back to the other front seat. I was panting happily, drooling all over.
The car started up again and I jumped to the back seat. I tried jumping onto her lap again, but she held up her arm when I was in the front seat, so I couldn’t get there. She stopped the car again and scolded me. “No, Foxy. That’s dangerous! No more car trips for you, buddy.”
By this time, I was pretty tired, so I curled up in the back and went to sleep. Soon we were back in Napa and I watched the unpacking. It was a relief to crawl into my bed in its familiar place. So much for vacation. I’m happier at home. I think Ellie is too.
Ellie is leaving me again. She’s going to a Blog Paws (www.blogpaws.com) conference in Nashville. She’s going to meet a lot of dogs there. I hope she’ll still like me best. If you’re going to be there too, please look for her. She’d like to meet you. She’ll be wearing a tee shirt with my picture on it!