Ball is Lost: Tucker the Dog Faces His Worst Nightmare

Last week, the unthinkable happened.

The unimaginable.

The unbelieveable.

It was a travesty. A tragedy.

It was the Worst Thing That Could Happen.

And it was all my fault.

I was playing ball with Tucker when the fickle finger of fate — or maybe it was an entire hand — reached out and toyed with our terrier in the most devious of ways. Well, either that or in a one-in-a-million set of circumstances, I managed to throw the ball directly into a clutch of branches, where it stayed lodged firmly in place.


So close, and yet so far.

Tucker didn’t see what happened. He knew —he counted on the fact — that once I threw the ball up, it always came down. Always. So it had to be somewhere on the ground. It was just a matter of sniffing it out. He ran around the yard in increasingly erratic circles, looking for his beloved green orb of fetchable bliss.

I told him it was up in the tree, but he ignored me, nose-to-the-ground, believing in the truth of gravity.

I tried to knock the ball down with a stick, then a frisbee, then a rake. I tried shaking the main limb. Our ladder wasn’t tall enough.

I was sure we had something somewhere I could use to retrieve Tucker’s toy, but I couldn’t think of it. Besides, it was heartbreaking to watch Tucker in the midst of his dilemma. I needed to help him quickly; I thought the poor dog was going to implode from ball withdrawal.

Out came the Backup Ball. (Of course I have one. Two actually. For emergencies.) I tossed it to my befuddled dog. Tucker instantly recognized it as a crude imposter. Even though it was the same brand. The same color. Bought at the same time as the other ball.

But he knew. Tucker knew it wasn’t The One.

He had a choice. Play with the replacement. Or don’t play at all. Reluctantly, he picked it up, and gingerly brought the Wrong Ball back to me. I threw it. He gamely brought it back.

Days went by. My husband and I didn’t have extra daylight hours to address the situation.

Tucker adapted.

Tucker's ball is stuck in the tree

The ball is held tight by the branches.

It snowed. And the ball stayed in place.

Tucker's ball is stuck in the tree

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…

Every day while I was washing dishes, I looked out the window and saw that dot of bright green amid the brown and grey of winter’s vacant branches, accusing me of gross dog toy negligence.

Tucker's ball is stuck in the tree

I could hear it calling Tucker…

Then we learned that a humongous snowstorm was heading our way. Blowing winds. Feet of snow. The word “blizzard” was being tossed about by gleeful meteorologists.

Images of a ball knocked loose by the storm and buried until spring ‘neath a smothering blanket of white convinced me it was time to act.

Brian, Aaron, and I held a strategy council to brainstorm ways to rescue Tucker’s toy. My son suggested a telescoping pole we had in the shed. My husband offered to perform the task.

Wielding the pole like a knight’s lance, Brian gallantly strode forth.

Brian strides forth to save the day

Brave Sir Brian.

The dogs performed the requisite Inspection of the Tools.

Dogs inspecting the pole

Smells ok. You may proceed, good Sir.

Jasper, Lilah and Tucker watched as Brian aimed the pole true.

Lilah Jasper Tucker watch Brian get the ball out of the tree

You can do it, Sir Brian!

That’s when Tucker saw his ball for the first time — tight within the grasp of the evil maple.

Tucker looks up and sees his ball in the tree

That’s…that’s…my Ball!

He looked at me. “Can you save it? Can you rescue The One?”

Tucker looks at me

I’m counting on you.

With a steady hand, Brian knocked the ball loose from the tree’s grip, and gravity took over.

Tucker ran straight to his beloved. He picked up The Ball and spewed it out lovingly. Picked it up. Spewed it out. Wagged his tail. Tested the squeaker.

He was ready to play.

Tucker has his ball

I was there to record the rescue and a game of fetch. The video is about 1 1/2 minutes long, but it’s worth it to see Tucker’s happy face when he is reunited with his special ball.

Have you ever had to rescue or repair one of your pet’s toys?

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66 Comments on "Ball is Lost: Tucker the Dog Faces His Worst Nightmare"

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  1. Beth says:

    I’m so glad this story has a happy ending! It was breaking my heart for a minute. Barley always tries to take a stuffed toy out with her on potty breaks, but when it’s gross outside, I don’t let her bring them outside, so I toss them on the bed. Occasionally, they’ll bounce off or I’ll have terrible aim and miss the bed, but Barley knows that the bed is where she goes to get her toy back after we come in. If she can’t find the toy on the bed, she gets frantic–even if it’s in plain sight on the floor beside the bed. 🙂

  2. Bravo Sir Brian… Tucker I’m so glad there was a hero who brought your ball back to you… balls are not only a toy, they are a part of us (well you know lol) and I’m glad THE ONE is back :o)

  3. Flea says:

    Oh my dog. This is HILARIOUS! Poor Tucker! Brave Sir Brian! Why wasn’t someone on hand with coconut halves for sound effects? I love this story and the accompanying photos!

  4. You got the ball back? Well thank goodness for that! Lost toys are serious business, for sure.


  5. Tucker looks so happy with his ball back!

  6. What a story! We were on the edge of our seats in anticipation. So glad that Tucker was reunited with his beloved Ball. Now, Mom… don’t EVER let that happen again!!! 😉

  7. jan says:

    I was surprised that he once again entrusted his beloved ball into your possession after you messed up like that.

  8. What a story!!! SO glad that Tucker and his ball have been reunited. : )

    … you are a fabulous storyteller, Susan! Both in words AND pictures.

  9. Amy says:

    I love a happy ending (*Sniff!)

  10. Leo’s beloved “Wilson” was under an avalanche of snow one winter, he knew the vicinity of its whereabouts but it took days to dig it out. So sad. I definitely can relate to this story. Great job Brian.

  11. sandy says:

    That was pretty exciting. Hooray for Brian!! The video was great. I just imagine Tucker saying ‘throw it again’ over and over again!

  12. Yea!! lol, this post is so funny!
    Cole won’t even go under a tall chair or table to get a toy. He will look at it, look at us, paw at the run near the chair, look at us, sometimes even lay down and watch the toy under the chair. Really!
    So yep, we have to retrieve his toys.
    LeeAnna at not afraid of color
    living with a Standard poodle not a retriever

  13. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    dood…ya noe, yur mom shuld coulda getted a ladder frum de get go,

    { even if her dinna haz one her could wented ta de hard ware store N buyed one }

    placed it against said tree…. N getted de ball for ewe….

    bee fooled…. never again.

    and now…a werd frum de food serviss gurl…

    EXCELLENT POST SUSAN !!!!! a paws, a paws, a paws !! ♥♥

    • Thank you. And I did consider a ladder, but I’ve learned my lesson (the hard way) never to climb a ladder without a spotter to hold it. And nobody else was home when the disaster occurred. So we had to wait for Sir Brian and a weekend to perform the rescue.

  14. They don’t know how we know but we know! Love Dolly

  15. What a great story! Ups, downs and a great ending 🙂

  16. slimdoggy says:

    Poor Tucker – he must have had a tough time those few days without his ball. At first in the vid it’s almost like he doesn’t want to give it to you – you did hide it on him for days, why should he trust you!

  17. Emma says:

    That was a gripping life and death story! So glad you got the ball back and it survived. What a terrible predicament it was for you!

  18. Mr. N’s toys aren’t usually in such peril. I’ve had to rescue a few from under the bed where he can’t reach though.

  19. Jan K says:

    Oh, I love this story! Because we had a similar scenario here this week, with a less happy outcome. Cricket’s ball bounced right out of the yard into the garden area. We can’t get into the garden area because the gate is frozen shut! Poor Cricket had to give up on hers (which is hard to get her to do sometimes). Unfortunately, with a big snowstorm coming here too, her ball won’t be seen again until Spring. 🙁

    • Oh no! Sometimes our gate gets stuck, too. Poor Cricket! I hope there’s a back-up ball somewhere that will do until you can retrieve the temporarily lost one!

      • Jan K says:

        Don’t worry, we have a pretty good supply of balls! It does take convincing her sometimes though to give up on the lost one and play with a different one. This time I had to bring her in the house to get her to forget about the lost one!

  20. YAY! We can’t believe you didn’t rescue the ball from the very start. 😉

    • I really wanted to, but I totally forgot about the pole in the shed, and I knew better than to attempt to climb a ladder by myself. And it was too dark by the time my husband came home each day, so we had to wait until the weekend. I felt so bad…

  21. That is so sweet! I love how he spews it out of his mouth and goes to pick it up! BOL! It is always confusing when gravity fails. ☺

  22. Robin says:

    Whew! I’m so glad that the ball could be saved. Sir Brian was brave indeed! I love the look on Tucker’s face when he got that ball back 🙂

  23. Dogvills says:

    Awe, glad the ball was rescued and Tucker got it back. What pretty face

  24. Oh, the horror! So glad to see the ball was eventually rescued 🙂

  25. MattieDog says:

    I’m so glad the ball got freed – the pups look so happy!! What a great little story, thanks for sharing!

  26. Julia says:

    Great story! Mine don’t have quite the focus when it comes to toys, but my girl, Delta, gets very excited about some of her tug toys. When you take them out, she make a lipsmacking “wanna bite it” face. My husband loves to roughhouse with her – her Kong Safety Stix is referred to as her “whoopin’ stick.” I can imagine if she saw any of those swaying in a branch, she’d be beside herself!

  27. ELlen Pilch says:

    Glad the ball was saved, what an ordeal. I repair lots of toys for the kitties and I have to rescue them from the vacuum when they get sucked up.

  28. Patty says:

    The horror! A favorite toy up a tree. I don’t know how you expected your doggies to survive such an ordeal! heh. The things we do for our pets.

  29. Cathy Armato says:

    Hooray! Brian you are the hero of the day. I’m so happy for Tucker. I can’t throw for beans so I’ve lost my dog’s ball a few times, usually over the backyard wall. My husband bravely goes out to retrieve it; that’s what husband’s are for, right?

  30. You are just the kind of humans that all dogs deserve! We loved watching the ball rescue!

  31. What a wonderful story! Also, a successful story! lol

  32. Awww! What a great story. I’m glad you were able to rescue the ball — it looks like a pretty awesome ball!!

  33. Kitties Blue says:

    What a relief that all is well at your house again. What a well-written and amusing post…AS ALWAYS. Nominating you for nose-to-nose award. You truly deserve it. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calistsa Jo

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