It usually takes only a few minutes. I bring the dogs out into the back yard, they do a perimeter check, sniff around for squirrels or other Beasties that Must Be Chased and get other necessary doggy business out of the way.
And then I hear it. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Bounce. A lime green ball rolls into view. Followed by a smiling Tucker. “Ball?” he wags at me. “Ball? Can we play? Huh? Now? Can we play Ball? Now?” He picks it up again. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Toss. Wag.
I always give in. It makes Tucker so happy and is such good exercise. I throw the Ball. He brings it back. I throw the Ball. He brings it back. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. Cold. Hot. Wet. Dry. Doesn’t matter. It’s all about the Ball.
It’s part of being a terrier, hardwired into his very essence. Must. Chase. Ball.
My other two dogs will run after a ball, if properly motivated: a treat every few tosses. Jasper will run to get a ball–as long as the grass isn’t wet and nobody threatens to take it. And by nobody, I meant sweet Lilah, who will slam into Jasper and steal the ball. Or she’ll trot after one herself, gently lifting it from the ground and bringing it back, sweetly depositing it at my feet.
After a few rounds, Jasper and Lilah tire of the game, and settle down to watch Tucker do his thing–from a safe distance.
Tucker takes Ball seriously. He doesn’t need treats; his reward is the chance to run after the Ball yet again.
The anticipation is great. “Throw it. Throw the Ball! Throw it now!”
And he’s off, tearing full speed after the Ball, often leaping to pluck the thing out of the air.
And then back he comes.
Now that the snow is mostly gone, the yard is not much more than dead grass and patches of sticky mud, which collects on Tucker’s Velcro-like fur–and the Ball. After Tucker catches the sloppy, shlorby orb, he adds a nice layer of dog slobber. Which is why I use a ball thrower–and taught Tucker to place his Ball directly in it.
He does this willingly and happily, although sometimes he deliberately misses just for the fun of chasing the rolling Ball around, squeaking it, and putting it back in.
This way my hand doesn’t have to look like his paws.
Which is why, before we go inside, I walk Tucker through what’s left of the snow piles–to try to clean some of the muck off before we head inside.
So, while it came seem a bit incessant–okay, a LOT incessant–I love throwing the Ball for Tucker. It’s so easy to provide such joy–and a dog’s joy is contagious. Who could resist such a happy face?
Tell me you’re not smiling after looking at that face!
What do your pets do that drive you nuts or make you smile or both?
This post is part of the Monday Mischief blog hop. Stop by some of the blogs below and see what other mischief has been made.