Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Play Ball!

Oscar continued his reign as the alpha dog after his special surgery. His lack of testosterone seemed not to bother him in the least. Emmy was a wonderful little mother and Oscar acted like he had three new subjects in his kingdom. Louise was particularly fond of the puppies, we were just worried that she would accidentally swallow one. They only weighed 5 ounces and fit easily in the palm of my hand.

Oscar still accompanied me to work, along with Emmy and the puppies. We would leave the big dogs at home. They probably enjoyed the quiet time. Oscar and Emmy took to going to Home Depot with HeWho loves attention. They were given their very own aprons to wear when they went with HeWho builds (sort of).

HeWho lavished the Oscar with gifts. He bought doggles and hats and toys. He bought for Emmy, as well, and she graciously accepted them and showered him with kisses. Oscar remained aloof, not one to be bought with silly trinkets. Toss a ball, though, and he was your friend for life.

He loved a certain ball that was available at Walmart in a package of three chew toys. Smaller than a tennis ball, he could fit this in his mouth. It had a little bell in it. I suppose the bell was to help the dog track the ball. No problem for Oscar to track a ball. When a ball was in play, he always knew exactly where that ball was. He had focus, my Oscar.

He loved these balls so much that he could smell one inside the package, inside the Walmart bag. No matter how many bags I was carrying, he knew which bag contained his ball. He would remove the package and then tear it open. Not interested in any item, save that ball. He gave the bone or the pretzel or whatever other toys accompanied his ball to the rest of his pack.

This is when the real work would begin. Oscar liked to "season" his ball. Much like a catcher will season his mitt. He would gnaw intently until he was able to remove the little noise maker inside. Now, he would stop this at a moments notice if someone would throw the ball for him to fetch. He always brought it back and would even put the ball into your hand. Every evening he would hop into HeWho longed to be his master's lap, ball in his mouth. He dropped the ball and then hopped down and waited for it to be thrown. He became quite vocal if the ball did not fly into the air as soon as he thought it should.

One by one he would offer the ball to every human in the house until he had annoyed us all. He knew that when I said I was done for the night that I meant it. He would still make noisy objections, though. One night he was doing just that when my sweet Collie picked the ball up in his mouth and tossed it for him.

This is how Oscar and Sarge became the best of friends. Sarge would bide his time until all the people were tired of playing ball with Oscar, then he would take over. Being a Collie, Sarge needed a job. Oscar provided one.

This was not Sarge's only job. Louise, the Saint Bernard, was an escape artist. Being very social, Louise set out to meet and visit with as many other people and dogs as possible. We had a 6' privacy fence, preventing any notions of jumping on her part. She was a digger. She would make a nice little hollow under a fence piece, then head butt the piece until she could squeeze through. She had always been prone to visiting, but when the little dogs came to live with us, she decided they should accompany her on the special walks.

I would look outside and see my faithful Sarge standing next to the opening she created in the fence. He was always sympathetic with my plight, but he would not leave the yard until he was instructed to "go find them and bring them back". He would help me locate them, then start herding them in my direction. Like I said, best dog EVER!

Louise was never contrite about taking the others on an adventure. I suppose she thought they all deserved to go. Oscar was never contrite about anything. Emmy would offer her sweet attentions and try to "make-up" for her disobedience. It was hard to stay mad at Emmy. Oscar cared not if you were mad at him. He just continued with his life of being pampered and fed and gnawed his ever present ball. No matter how ragged the ball got, if you could still toss it, he would fetch it.

Oscar's ball was always wet with slobber. I remember once when granddaughter Layla was about three, Oscar offered his well gnawed slippery ball to her. She took it and looked at it with great distaste and pronounced the ball to be "broked". She immediately washed her hands. Layla has always been a lady.

None of the rest of my dogs have ever loved a ball like Oscar. Just this weekend I found one when I was weeding the fence in the back yard. I took the ball to him and let him smell it. He showed no interest at all. How I would love to be annoyed with a game of fetch with my Oscar!


Linda O'Connell said...

I am so enjoying your doggie episodes. I just learned yesterday that the cat we adopted from my son and his family is not 9, but 12, and I am sad he's suddenly lost three years of his life. That would explain why he has slowed down.

Val said...

Maybe Oscar was overcompensating with the balls...