Maybe its because he no longer has them himself, but my dog, Jack, is obsessed with balls.
Can you see the manic glaze in his eye? There is a ball just out of view in this picture and he will not rest until he has it. Literally. Will. Not. Rest.
Inklings of the disorder were apparent when we first met Jack back in April at his foster family's house. Actually, it was one of Hubby's requirements - that he be "ball crazy" - when he filled out our application at Safe Harbor Lab Rescue. Hubs has some hopes of training him to be a huntin' dog... Obviously retrieving would be required.
The full-blown OBD was evidenced one Saturday when Jack & I went to hang out with our neighbors in our cul-de-sac's weekly-driveway-picnic-drinkfest that I attend occasionally when I spy them next door. Love my neighbors. Like beer. But not every weekend night. So, I brought a camp chair, a beer, and Jack out to socialize. Jack promptly found an old baseball with split seams and made the rounds begging for a throw until I look down after 30 minutes at a ball of red string. The baseball cover was later found after passing through Jack's large intestine - and here I thought it fell off with a hard throw...
With the then remains of the baseball in the trash and at loose ends, Jack decides to play Monkey in the Middle to my 14 year old neighbor, Matt, and his friend throwing a football. The monkey rarely got the ball but doggedly ran between the teens for another hour. Even after they switched to a baseball & gloves and spread farther apart, Jack would not rest. Worried that he was going to pass out, I dragged him by the collar into the house and to his water bowl in the kitchen. It is only when I turn around and see bloody paw prints tracking through the house from the garage that I realize that Jack has run the pads off his paws and still did not stop. This is dedication and adoration in the extreme. This is a massive case of Obsessive Ball Disorder.
I don't know if Jack learned his lesson after being unable to walk for two days and suffering through ball-restriction for a week, but I did. Never again will I underestimate the depth of his obsession. I now know, I must be the parent, the heavy, the enforcer.
I have to be the one to say "enough is enough, Jack, leave your balls alone!"