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Speaking of Balls…

It has been awhile since I have shared a home with a persistently Obsessive Compulsive Dog, but our bulldog is quickly reacquainting me with the fine points of dealing with an O.C.D.  Not to stereotype or anything, but every O.C.D. that has lived in our household has been male; we’ve even hosted an O.C.C. (Obsessive Compulsive Cat) – who also happened to be male.  I don’t really know what this means, scientifically, but our track record is definitely not good.

Our current O.C.D., Wonderbutt, has recently developed a fixation on a ball.  The kind you roll.  (If this is not why you are reading this post, I am sorry to have disappointed you.)  Anyway, this ball was originally purchased for Mrs. P.I.B., our 11 year old Golden Retriever, as Wonderbutt kept ramming her in the side of the mouth to steal her tennis ball – even if he already had an identical tennis ball in his mouth.  In a shocking turn of events, it turned out that Wonderbutt much preferred the new super-duper rubberish ball, and Mrs. P.I.B. was more than happy to stick with the stinky, old tennis ball that Wonderbutt now spurns.  Everybody’s happy, right?

If you know the Firepants Family, and I think you do, you know that there are precious few moments when everyone is simultaneously happy.

Wonderbutt loved the new ball so much, we worried that he would give it the kind of attention that he gives all of the objects that he adores – endless licking that evolves into chewing and, before you know it, there are tiny pieces everywhere and it’s a miracle the dog hasn’t choked.

So, we rationed his time with the ball.  We would play with him until he sprawled out on his stomach, panting, and then gently remove the ball from his jaws and put it somewhere out of his view and reach.

Wonderbutt did not like this routine.  So, one day, instead of bringing the ball back to us, he started racing around the house with it.  My daughter, Dimples, was happy to comply with this new game, chasing him until they were both out of breath.  But, we still got the ball in the end.

The other day, Wonderbutt led Dimples on a merry chase around the kitchen table, and then blasted through his dog door to his outside pen.  The Poop Pen.  I am fine if he brings a toy out to his Poop Pen.  But, as far as I am concerned, that should be a one-way ticket.  No toy returns allowed from the Poop Pen.

This ball, however, was an exception.  It had outlasted any other toy Wonderbutt has ever owned, and I didn’t want to sacrifice it to the Poop Pen.  So, we coaxed him to bring the darn ball back in, washed it off, and put it away for a couple of days.

Wonderbutt is like an elephant, though.  In more ways than one.  From then on, as soon as he got hold of the ball, he would race with it to the Poop Pen.

Dimples got the brilliant idea of closing the dog door during a play session one afternoon.  It really was smart – until she forgot that she had closed it, and wandered off to do other important things.

Concrete floors are very slippery when wet.  And Moms who slip and slide on concrete floors are very upset.

Sometimes I think, “I am a human being.  No dog is going to outsmart me.”

Then I go outside and clean the Poop Pen.

Cornered, Wonderbutt watches Dimples’ hand slowly creep toward his mouth.

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