We’d play fetch and it would roll under the bed. Roxy would do her best to lift the bed high enough to crawl under, and when that didn’t work she stood at attention and pointed out where the ball was hiding until one of us would get a yardstick and knock it out. She’d grab the ball the moment it shot out and prance around the room, thrilled that her precious was safe and sound.
It was also great for her favorite game, Hide the Toy in the Blanket. She’d sniff and feel around until she’d located the lump, then pump it with her paws to make it squeak until she’d worked it free.
In between playing sessions, the ball went in the bin with the other toys, but she couldn’t be sure it was safe there. She’d stand next to the basket, staring at it and trying to convince anyone who walked by to throw the ball. Sometimes I’d try throwing one of her other toys, but she was having none of that. Only the squeaky ball was good enough. She’d ask for a play session even before asking for breakfast, and if that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
Her love for the ball even led her to crime. If we set the ball on a table or shelf after a play session, Roxy would wait until we were out of the room and steal it. We would return to find it nestled under her chin, or in her mouth. She would try not to squeak it, so as not to draw attention, but eventually she would. We’d take it away and put it in the bin, where she would stand and gaze at it.
Finally, the pressure was too much. Roxy gave in to impulse and chewed a hole in the ball, permanently de-squeakafying it. She still carries it around, but now that's it's less valuable, she feels comfortable going outside and leaving the ball in the house. She doesn’t spend her entire day worrying.
I’m torn over whether to replace the ball or not. It’s a great feeling to provide so much joy, but with great wealth comes great responsibility, and I’m just not sure Roxy’s up to the burden. We’ll see.