Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How it works in our hood.

I may have mentioned once or twice before that Ellie is obsessed - literally obsessed - with catching her ball, the Frisbee, anything you throw her in the back yard. Echo is interested in catching things you might throw in her general direction only if it seems Ellie is receiving lots of attention from you by participating in said activity.

Every once in a while, when Echo pays attention, she actually catches the ball. Then, she doesn't give it back. She plays with it in her paws, mulling it over in her mouth, all the while keeping a keen interest in Ellie's whereabouts.

There's Ellie - watching Echo's every move - waiting for a moment when she can steal that ball back. I mean, what kind of dog does Echo think she is - stealing the ball away and not giving it back? The nerve.

And, Echo clearly doesn't get the whole point of FETCH is to give the ball back so it can be thrown AGAIN! That, Echo, believes, is foolish - if you give it back, she WILL throw it, and then you'd have to run around to catch it again. If Echo keeps the ball, there's time to relax in the grass and chew on the ball, which, in Echo's opinion, is WAY more enjoyable.

Echo will also get up and walk around with the ball, just to get Ellie to follow her in circles, I think. Ellie obliges - she'll follow that ball to the ends of the earth, I think.

There are plenty of other toys in the yard, you understand.

Look, here Ellie's about to step over a toy in hunt of the ball in Echo's mouth.

Would you like a closer look at the prize ball?
Well, there it is. Quite a prize.

This begs the question, if our dogs are so important to us, why do they have this horribly cruddy old ball to play with? Why don't they have new shiny, multi-colored ball options? Well, the thing is, no matter how many balls you put in the yard, this ball - the old, ratty, torn up ball - is the one Ellie will spend hours searching for. And, if you confiscate the old ball, Ellie will work hours on a new ball to get it to look like this one, painstakingly removing the outer fuzz and chewing on it's core until it breaks. So, make no mistake - that IS a prize ball.

Eventually, Echo will grown tired of the game and give the ball up to Ellie - she literally will just drop it at her feet. Like she's saying, "Here, have it. I don't want your stinkin' ball anyway." And, all is right with Ellie's world once again.

Once the ball is retrieved, a game of catch is restored. Ellie will fetch until you won't throw it anymore. I think she would play it until she fell over dead. Echo sort of follows behind most of the time, not really trying to get the ball at all.

Ellie brings the ball right back. Immediately back. So you can throw it again. She gets the game of fetch in ways Echo can only dream of understanding. She'd be a lot happier if she wasn't so darn smart, that dog. Or, maybe Echo's the smart one...there are two sides to every story!

Echo does occasionally try to play the game - look at that giant leap into the air - if only the ball weren't over there on the left, near the ground. Ellie sees it. She's on it. It'll safely be in her mouth's grasp in seconds.

Sweet success. Notice - the eye's on Echo, just out of the photo frame.

Eventually, Echo gets her time in the spotlight again - she gets lucky and catches an easy ball. And the game continues. That's how it works here in our hood.

It's all part of the fun, really.

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