Santa? Me?

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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.

Therapy Dog

knee recovery

In March I got a new knee. Yeah, the kind that requires two nights in the hospital, a mountain of opioids, and a lot of TLC. Chewy was a great therapy dog. During the first couple of weeks when I spent a lot of time on the bed, he was right there beside me. He was such a comfort, I relaxed all my rules and had him sleeping under the covers with me! I knew full well I’d have to retrain him to his own bed, but it was worth it.

Every day (still!) I have to do my #@$% stretching exercises. This one is called the Ottoman Hang. Perhaps it’s not named for what was in Turkey before it was Turkey, but rather for the hassock-like piece of furniture you can hang your foot on. In any case, to me it is an evil warlord–very painful to have my hamstrings stretched by the weight of my leg for ten minutes at a time. As you can see, Chewy does his part–that is adding to the weight by sitting on my stomach and leaning on the leg. It’s our new daily activity.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO BREAKFAST?

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          You never know what will blow in on a windy night. I heard Ellie get up during the night and fiddle with the window coverings, which made more noise than they already had been making. Yawn… sorry, I was sleeping. We went out for our morning walk and I got to jump over sticks that were all over the sidewalk. Pee smells were blowing off the plants and into the wind.

As we turned the corner towards the park, there was a big, dark dog. He smelled friendly, but was more interested in Ellie than in me. He had no human with him and was panting like maybe he was thirsty or scared. He followed us for a while and then, when we made the turn to go home, Ellie called him to come along. Huh?

Yeah, I remember, she did this once before when there was a little curly haired monster who barked at me like she wanted to get her teeth into me. That time Ellie picked her up (and got bit in the process, I think), and we drove her somewhere and left her there.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, so when we got  to our house, Ellie put both of us through the gate to the backyard. Huh? But it’s breakfast time! Then she came out on the deck with MY water bowl and set it down, followed by a pan containing MY kibble. Our visitor lapped up most of the water (what a sloppy slurper!) and then lit into the kibble. I really didn’t mind that too much, because I prefer the soft stuff that comes in a can. Ellie always mixes in some kibble, and unless I’m really hungry, I eat around it and leave it in the bowl, or I pick it out and drop it on the floor.

I got to go in and start on my breakfast, but it was pretty crazy, because Blacky (that’s what I called him) didn’t want to be outside by himself. He started scratching on the glass. I could tell Ellie didn’t like that, so she let him in the house. He went straight to my food bowl and helped himself. She had to put it on the counter in order to save some for me.

Ellie made a phone call and put Blacky outside again but he wanted back in and stuck his head through my dog door. There was no way he was going to fit through there. So she let him in again. This circus went on for a few minutes, in and out, while I longed after my food bowl on the counter. Then the phone rang and after talking, Ellie calmed down. She started calling the visitor “Dylan,” but that didn’t help him to settle down.

After some more fussing around this big dog, who paced back and forth, wanted in the house, and kept panting like he was being chased by wolves, the doorbell rang. A nice lady came in, all smiley, holding a big old leash. She took one look at Blacky-Dylan and got all excited. I saw Ellie give the lady one of our books before she left. “Please give that to Officer McIntosh,” she said.

I finally got to settle down and eat my breakfast when the doorbell rang again. The lady was back without her dog, but she handed Ellie a bottle of something and said “thank you” a few times.  I’m happy to have peace and quiet again, the lady is happy to have her dog, Dylan is no doubt happy to be back home, and I know Ellie will be happy when she opens that bottle. Who says there’s no such thing as a happy ending?

If you’d like to read more Foxy adventures, check out my book, My Leash on Life, Foxy’s View of the World from a Foot Off the Ground. Get it from Amazon, your local bookstore, or you can read it on one of those glass covered reading thingies.