Ball Detective

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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.

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Mud Muffin

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My dogs always have a special fascination for whatever is under the deck.  I had it closed up pretty well after Foxy kept going under there, but Chewy is a very clever guy.

I had no idea what was going on until I couldn’t find him. I called inside the house. I stepped out into the yard and called his name. No answer. I thought I heard a slight jingly sound, like his tags might make, but figured it was wishful thinking. He must have found his way out of the yard. So I went hobbling down the street in my slippers, calling his name. All the way around the park, but no luck.

When I got home, my gardener’s truck was out front and I heard a familiar bark coming from the back yard. Sure enough, Chewy was under the deck–not interested in telling ME, but eager to bark at the intruder in the yard. We couldn’t find Chewy’s place of entry, but Arturo helped me to get him out by digging a hole in the mud. I picked up the mud-covered pup and Arturo kindly closed up the hole and put some rocks there to discourage digging in the wet earth.

Chewy got an immediate bath and was finally mud-free. The gardener went on his way. Relieved the drama was over, I went about my business until I again heard barking from the yard. Chewy had found his way under there again! I now saw that his blue ball was there and he was trying to figure out how to get out with it in his mouth. I muttered a few nasty words and went to get a shovel. When I returned, I saw that he had extracted himself this time. Here’s how he looked:

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I picked him up and carried him through the door, headed for the sink, but he wriggled out of my arms and landed on–get ready for it–the sofa! Ohmygod! Into the sink again, then I had to clean up the sofa and the floor full of muddy footprints.

I placed more rocks and boards around the deck and the next day a dear friend came and nailed a new barrier in place, but not before retrieving the blue ball. Chewy could probably still find a way under there, but he no longer has a reason!