A Dog’s Ball’s Life

Ty Webb: Just be the ball, be the ball, be the ball. You’re not being the ball, Danny.

Danny Noonan: It’s hard when you’re talking like that. – from the movie “Caddyshack”

My wife’s and my Havanese is rarely excitable. He’s not much of a morning dog and, if allowed, tends to sleep in on the weekends. “Outside”, “ball”, and “treat” solicit the most enthusiastic responses. His once bushy, matted tail – now shaved nearly down to the hide – will wag across his back like the menacing arm on a Richter scale. Except for that tail, his puppy cut gives him the look of a curious Jack Russell. But like most dogs, his curiosity comes in spurts. He’ll bark at images of animals on the TV, perhaps in search of a companion to wrestle. Or he’ll attack the fence line when either a rabbit skitters by or bird swoops down too close.

Outside, he’ll track down an airborne ball with both quickness and determination. But once retrieved, he’ll let the ball lie on the ground while incessantly sniffing all around like a chicken pecking at scratch. My wife and I wonder when the day will come when he’ll suck something harmful up his nose, and us rushing to the vet to find out why he’s sneezing up blood. It’s not his fault. He’s a dog, so he doesnt know any better. So the ball lies on the ground, waiting to be picked up and brought back for another toss. I know I’m shifting gears here and giving reference to an inanimate object. And I know little dogs are cute, but so are fuzzy lime-green tennis balls. Or at least they once were. After only so many tosses, it becomes slimy and dirty.

Back to that little dog. Sometimes he’ll chomp at the air as a sign that he wants to play rough. Sometimes he’ll just chomp on the neck of one of our cats, though softly, waiting for a playful response. But the cat will lay down, beaten, in surrender mode like a tennis ball submitting to it’s fate. There’s times when I wonder how nice it would be to have no responsibilities or to be oblivious, like a dog, to fate or chance. Or to be as empty headed, empty hearted, as a ball. “Be the ball, Danny.”? But it’s hard when I’m thinking like this.

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