Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Best One of All

Cadie loves her tennis balls. Last night she got really lucky. It was pouring after work, and hot weather meant that the water was warm; it felt like walking in a running shower. Cadie isn’t much for walking in the rain, and frankly this is one of the quirks that I love about her. So we went out for about 15 minutes. But I decided that I would make it up to her by taking her out to my building’s backyard. We share a fence with a private tennis club, and sometimes the yard will be full of lost tennis balls. So much the better for us. Cadie has an impressive collection. She has at least 1 bucket full of tennis balls, and a dresser drawer that is half full of tennis balls. In spite of this enviable collection, each newly found tennis ball is a treasure that only Cadie can fully appreciate.

As I said, last night she got lucky; the yard was full of tennis balls. She eagerly ran to each tennis ball in turn, while I followed along behind her. Eventually, after having sniffed every tennis ball in the yard, she ran back towards the porch, ducked under and selected a tennis ball from the bucket.

I used this opportunity to grab a couple of other tennis balls. This is going to sound like I spoil her, but, the highlight of Cadie’s day is finding a new tennis ball, so if I see 2 or 3 loose tennis balls I grab them and hide them in my dog walking bag. Then I place them strategically, while Cadie isn’t looking. This way she finds a new tennis ball almost everyday.

So while I was filling my bag, Cadie selected a sodden tennis ball from the bucket, and then indicated that she was ready to go in. So I helped Cadie in the house, by taking the tennis ball, and lifting her up to the landing, (the stairs here are grates, very uncomfortable for little dog feet). While I was helping her, I made up my mind that I would give the tennis ball a bit of a dry, nothing special, I grabbed some paper towel and just did a light drying. Cadie eagerly grabbed the ball and headed for the couch.

I didn’t think anything of it, this is our routine really. I went about my business, getting her supper, starting mine. It was after I turned the water off that I head this disgusting squishing sound coming from the couch. So I made up my mind that that particular tennis ball had to go, I went over and took it from Cadie. At first I thought that I would leave it in the bathroom sink to see if it might dry out.

Cadie was like a dog possessed; she refused to leave the bathroom, and sat, straight at attention, never taking her eyes off the spot where she knew she could find her tennis ball. So I kicked her out of the bathroom and shut the door. She spent the next 2 hours scratching at the door. I didn’t know what else to do, so I gave her one of the other balls I had grabbed. No go, she wanted the one in the bathroom. Fortunately by this time the rain had completely stopped and I could take her out for a walk. We did a short walk, up and down the beltline. Then on my way home I tried to plant a new tennis ball.

This was a disaster. The ball bounced a foot off the ground, and rolled downhill into the street. Of course Cadie saw the ball, and was staining at the end of her leash to get to it. The cars meanwhile are trying to hold back so as not to run over the crazy dog lunging for a ball. Chaotic it’s true, but short lived nonetheless, the traffic soon cleared and Cadie got her new tennis ball. I feeling like I had finally won the battle of the tennis ball, happily headed for home.

As soon as we stepped in the apartment Cadie headed for the bathroom to try to find the first tennis ball. It was no drier, and in fact, seemed to be wetter, so I made the decision that I would through it out as soon as the warden’s back was turned. I got my opportunity about 2 hours later, Cadie had some sort of food that she was chomping away on, and I flew to the bathroom to get rid of the ball while she was otherwise occupied.

I only had 2 minutes; Cadie was in the bathroom looking for her long, lost toy by the time I got back. So I lifted her up, and she gave the counter a sniff, and then accepted the tennis ball as lost. By the time I was finished in the bathroom that night Cadie, looking pretty dejected, had already put herself to bed.

Oh well, it’s just one tennis ball, and tomorrow will be a new day, filled with new tennis balls.

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