So. Willie has this ball.
He found it in the park one day and dragged it home, as he sometimes does. Generally he'll find a tennis ball, bring it home, bring it back to the park the next day, and forget it there. End of story. But this ball was different. We weren't really sure why. Maybe it has the perfect squish when he bites it. Or maybe it's the fact that when it bounces, it bounces high, but not too high, and he can catch it mid-air. Maybe it's the color scheme. Whatever it is, Willie. Loves. This. Ball.
And he'll do anything to get it. He'll run over greyhounds, for instance.
Last year, Willie and I had a bit of a power struggle when it came to his walks. I was newly pregnant and very morning sick (all day long), and it took all of my energy just to walk him up to the lawn in order for him to do what needed to be done. He had spent the last few years of his life going for a fair walk prior to doing his business, but the docks at Thayer's Landing are far shorter than Constitution's, so he felt cheated. All he wanted was a bit of time to run and play. All I wanted was to lay back down so I wouldn't vomit, so it took me a bit of time to figure out Willie's thinking. He'd sometimes end up going more than 24 hours without peeing, even though I'd take him out 7 or 8 times. It was so frustrating. Suddenly it dawned on me - when I took a ball with and played with him, even for a few minutes, he'd do what needed to be done at the end of the play session. Problem solved.
The instant we came back to Thayer's Landing, Willie got into this rhythm. Every time we turned right off of the finger pier, he knew we were going up to the grass and he'd run back and grab his ball. If we turned left, he knew we were going to visit our neighbors, Jon and Kelli. If he forgot it, he'd hurry up and run back to get it. Now he never forgets it. It doesn't matter if it's 5am or midnight. Sometimes I think he's forgotten it until we get up to the grass and he turns around with a big orange grin.
Generally, Willie is happy with any toy. But I know that if he happens to lose this one in the water or wears it out, we're going to have to buy a replacement for him. Who knew that a dog would get so attached to a ball.