With only 36 days remaining of Life with Dionne (less if she goes into heat during that time), we’ve settled into some pretty staid routines. She has long ago been introduced to all the CCI commands. If she continues to misbehave (as I was lamenting my last post), it’s in the old, familiar ways: stealing slippers and socks, digging on those rare occasions when we allow her off leash in the yard, snatching items off the kitchen counters or our desks. But within just the last few days, something new and intriguing has developed:
Dionne has engaged in some actual games of Ball.
Steve and I are startled by this. Ball, as we have played it with most of the ball-playing dogs in our life, consists of the human throwing a ball, the canine racing after it at extreme speed and then returning to drop it at our feet and wait expectantly. Our most ball-addicted dogs (Pearl, Yuli, Brando, Darby) would do this to the point of exhaustion.
In the 17 or so months we’ve lived with Dionne, she has disdained this game. She finds Keep Away vastly more amusing. On the rare occasions when she has pursued a thrown sphere, she almost never has brought it back. But yesterday Steve threw and she retrieved a tennis ball for several long minutes. (He almost fainted.) I tried a session this morning, and I too could see a different response in her.
She almost looks like she cares.
She still would prefer that Tucker chase her and try to get the ball away. But to counteract this, I called him next to me and ordered him to Sit. His presence at my side seemed to communicate to Dionne that no chase would be forthcoming, and she responded by coming and Dropping the ball, over and over.
Steve and I theorize that she may be so bored and desperate for exercise, that even (ugh) Ball is starting to look good. But that works for us. We’ll keep up the indoctrination program.
It may not look like much, but this is a photograph of an actual ball, taken shortly after it was retrieved and dropped by the Black One.

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