Table of Contents
- Kids Ask the Darndest Things . . .
- Grant the Swamp Thing
- Ball Crazy
KIDS ASK THE DARNEDEST THINGS
I was walking Mitch and Rachel around the neighborhood one day and ran into a group of about six children, I would guess most were under the age of eight. They rushed up to us and I had the dogs sit so no one would get knocked down. The kids had lots of questions: Are they boys or girls? “The big one is a boy and the small one is a girl” Does he have a wiener? “Um, Yes” At this point, one of the boys bent down and checked the truth of this statement . . . “It’s huge!” (I suppose, that compared to a 6 year old boy, he is pretty well endowed) The other boys crowded around to look. Thankfully, at this point a mom showed up and herded the children off we could be on our way. As we rounded the next corner, one of the boys flew by on a bicycle and shouted. “Does he poop?”
GRANT THE SWAMP THING
One summer I spent a lot of time showing my co-owned white dog Grant. I went to every 3 point ROM show within driving distance of my home, driving as much as 10 hours for one day’s show. I generally do all his major grooming and bathing the night before we leave. On the way to Pittsburgh, we stopped at a rest area along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It was very hot and the picnic area was crowded, so I took him across the access road to the trailer parking area. There was a drainage ditch with water and green slime on top alongside this lot. Grant was on a flexi-lead and I was just starting to think I’d better rein him so he didn’t walk into the slime when SPLASH!! He jumped right in the middle of the ditch and got slime up to halfway up his back. The slime was jet black and very fine in texture. I used up a bottle self-rinsing shampoo and a whole beach towel just trying to get him clean enough to put in his crate. When we got to the motel I had to go out to the local department store to buy several bath towels to wash him with there. Fortunately I had already learned to travel with a bottle of dog shampoo and had been assigned a handicapped room so I had a sprayer in the tub. The only bad thing about handicapped rooms is you can’t use the parking space in front of the room unless you really are handicapped. All that and we still didn’t win!
LIFE WITH THE MIGHTY BALL HUNTER
My Mitch is a genuine congenital BALL-crazy Bull Terrier. Before I owned him I thought these dogs could be created by excessive ball playing, but now I know better. By the time he was 6 months old he had a keen eye for anything of a spherical nature and by a year anything made of BALL material, such as rubber, was also an obsession. I could no longer leave round or rubber objects out around the house for fear of their being destroyed.
SOME COMMON OBJECTS THAT MIGHT BE MISTAKEN FOR BALLS
VegetaBALLS: potatoes, oranges, apples, or onions too close to the counter edge! Sun Tea Globes: They don’t look like balls when they’re first filled with water, but when the tea is brewed, it becomes a BALL!
Sometimes I take Mitch for long walks out at the local community college grounds. We go past the tennis courts on the way to an elevated jogging trail that winds around a small swampy pond. Mitch loves to zig zag across both sides of the trail, diving in the brush and coming out with assorted debris. One spring day as we came alongside the pond, he dove in and came out with what at first I thought was a dead frog – it was green and had something that looked like a leg hanging off one side. Upon closer examination, it was a tennis ball, badly deteriorated with the hide half torn off.
THE SOFTBALL GAME
I took Mitch to watch a couple of our company softball games. We would come with his water and a BALL in a travel bag for Mitch so he could be happily occupied while I watched the game (he watched the game too, he knew what they were playing with). One of the team captains asked me if he could give Mitch a softball. “He’ll eat it” I warned. ” Oh, that’s OK”, the manager replied. He was genuinely surprised that Mitch had peeled the leather off and was down to the cork by the end of three innings.
BALL HUNTING IN THE WOODS
A few months after the company softball game, our club supported “Canine Walk for Life” which involved a number of purebred rescue clubs coming together to stage a walk a thon style fund raiser. The walking route was a circle around a picnic area surrounded by woods. At one spot along the walk Mitch kept trying to go into the woods. On our final lap, I let him go in. He went in a good ten feet and came out with a softball which he proudly carried the last half mile to the finish.
BALL REMOVAL TIPS
Teach your dog a word that means to drop the object. With Mitch, this doesn’t work, but perhaps a softer dog or one trained earlier in life, it might alleviate the problem somewhat. With my other dogs, I taught the release as a part of play retrieving.
I keep a dowel – about 3/8 inch diameter around the house. It only needs to be about a foot long. When your dog has a death grip on something, insert the dowel at the hinge of his jaws – completely through the mouth if possible, and pull backward. This will keep him from clamping down harder and should loosen the grip enough for you to pull the object out. Keep backward pressure on the dowel until the object is clear of the mouth.
If you are faced with this problem without a stick handy (in the show ring, for example), grasp as much of the object as possible with one hand and wrap the dogs’ gums over his teeth with the other hand. This should help keep you from getting bitten, as most dogs will not bite themselves severely . Pull the object out to the side and back. DO NOT PULL FORWARD – THE DOG WILL LUNGE FORWARD AND MAY BITE YOU!!
Updated February 24, 2019