Dr. Wayne Davis: Dogs and their love for retrieving balls
Charlotte, a dog I had for 14 years, loved chasing balls and bringing them back. She loved doing the same with cows and sheep, llamas and chickens etc. — a major difference being she didn’t bring them back in her mouth. When it came to livestock she would circle around them and apply psychological pressure to control the direction of their movement. Being a Border Collie she would stare intensely at a ball as if she expected it to move.
At an early age, she and I had watched a video on the paranormal, ya know levation, telekinesis, stuff like that. The video had a profound effect on her. Her faith in telekinesis was contagious. She would stare and I would stare. We would wait, the tension mounting, staring at the ball, willing the ball to move with all our energy. I was the weak one. I couldn’t stand the frustration and would kick the ball. She seemed to be Ok with this. She was very practical. Whatever it takes. Staring at a ball did indeed make it move.
We got another dog: Grace also enjoyed retrieving balls. Charlotte was older and arthritic and taught Grace, by example, 90 percent of what Grace knows. The will was there, but Charlotte couldn’t quite get to the ball before Grace… ever. I spoke to her of retirement, but she would have none of that. It came to the point every time Grace got the ball, Charlotte would have a disgusted look on her face and eventually quit trying as hard.
One day I threw the ball and she didn’t try at all. Grace got the ball and stopped with it in her mouth. She looked at me, then at Charlotte, then at me, paused, and took the ball to Charlotte, who then brought the ball to me. So that’s what ball throwing became: the young, caring, empathetic, team oriented dog, finding a way to include her older arthritic mentor in the game… pretty good example for all of us.
Dr. Wayne Davis is the veterinarian and owner of Craig Animal Hospital.Dr. Wayne Davis is the veterinarian and owner of Craig Animal Hospital. Dr. Wayne Davis is the veterinarian and owner of Craig Animal Hospital.
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