Tuesday, our hound dog, loves to fetch. Let me rephrase that. She incessantly wants to fetch day and night. A ball, a toy, a stick, a rock. You name it, if this dog can get her mouth on it and bring it to you, she will. At first this game of hers seemed to be quite endearing, but four years later it has become a bit much. She eagerly waits for the words she knows … Go, Walk, Feed the horses. All these are cues to go outside and with that the opportunity to play. She also knows the routine of each day. Upon returning from taking my kids to school, I will always find her waiting for me at the back door, toy in mouth, ready to go on our daily walk.
Tuesday’s “toy” of choice over the years has became a rock. Despite the endless balls and toys to replace this rather bad choice, you’d find her digging up just the right rock and brining it to us to throw. Recently I invested in an ingenious rubberized “rock” toy that has become her favorite. She has four of them in a variety of neon colors. These gems are affectionately called her “babies.”
Since Tuesday was so good at verbal cues, I decided to take it one step further. Lets see how much she was “listening.” One day while doing the dishes, Tuesday and her other dog friends were hanging in the kitchen looking for possible hand outs. I just envisioned her neon pink rock and sent the thought, ” get your baby.” I gave her no verbal cues nor did I gesture in any direction. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know where her “pink baby” was. I continued about my chore watching Tuesday out of the corner of my eye. All of a sudden she jumped into action as if I had said aloud ” go find your baby!” I was amazed. She frantically ran from one end of the house to the other, nose to floor searching. She stood on her hind legs, looked on counters, ran under tables, came back to me as if to say ” do you have it?” Still not uttering a word, I let her continue to look until finally to my amazement she found it and excitedly brought it to me. Of course, I then had to go out and play with her. That was incredible.
The great part of having a menagerie is watching the dynamics between animals. During a recent walk on the farm, my horse Max inquired about this game he had witnessed so often. He watched as I repeatedly lobbed Tuesday’s neon green baby into a nearby field with interest. When the “baby” bounded into his field he decided it was time to play also. He trotted over to where the toy lay and gave it a good sniff. Tuesday, having missed which direction I threw it in, was busy trying to track it down in the opposite field. Max was quite pleased with himself for finding it first. I told Max to pick it up and when he wasn’t sure, I did it for him. But as soon as I did, he plucked it right out of my hands and proudly walked around with it for all to see. Apparently fetch isn’t just for dogs.