Abby Finds A Tennis Ball

Abby is proud of her new tennis ball

Abby and I went for our morning hike today. As always, she was excited to go. It's the first thing that I do every day. In fact, I usually get up in the morning when she wakes me because she is tired of waiting for me and wants to go for her morning walk.

We were on our way to the park behind the YMCA. As we walked along the path she found a tennis ball on the ground. Abby believes in finders, keepers so she grabbed it. Now it was hers. I figured that she wanted to take it to the park so that I could throw it and she could chase it. I figured wrong.

Abby sat down. She didn't want to go any farther. I tried talking to her. I told her that I would throw the ball in the park and she could chase it. Didn't do any good. She wouldn't budge.

I take Abby for two walks almost every day, sometimes three walks. I am home most of the day with her. I know her pretty well. I knew what she was thinking. She wanted to take her ball and go back home with it. I told her that we could play with it in the park, that I would throw the ball and she could fetch it. I told her that it would be a lot of fun. She just looked away. She wasn't convinced. Finally I turned around and started to head back. She jumped up immediatly and walked home with me.

Abby plays with her new tennis ball on her bed

Dogs are interesting creatures. I have lived very closely with dogs most of the past fifteen years, ever since I took early retirement from HP. I have read a lot about how dogs think, books by experts in canine cognition like Alexandra Horowitz, Patricia McConnell and Stanley Coren. Still Abby never ceases to amaze me. Today was very interesting. Abby found something that she wanted. But she didn't just grab it. She wasn't content with just having it. She wanted to take it home. She wanted to possess it. She wanted to own it. Abby never ceases to amaze me. She is a person who has very strong opinions and can be quite stubborn about them. She certainly is a believer in Teddy the Dog's maxim, Be Your Own Dog. But then so am I.