Kemba’s making me throw this stuffed Hello Kitty. He won’t chase a ball — ONLY hello Kitty . . .
Thus begins a text from Elise, my dog sitter — and it doesn’t surprise me. My boy can be pretty particular about what he chooses to fetch.
It’s hard to throw a stuffed animal! Elise continued. (You’ve met Elise before, in a January post, Kemba and Friends.) I made a wild throw, and Hello Kitty ended up on the roof of the sunroom! Kemba was going crazy trying to find her! Had to get a ladder and the snow roof rake to get her down! Luckily the roof rake extends 16+ feet, otherwise I
couldn’t have gotten it.
There’s more: And then when I was putting the ladder away, I went out the front door — and ended up getting locked out of the house! Had to go to a neighbor who has an extra set of keys. Too bad dogs can’t open doors.
Maybe they can’t open doors, but they sure as hell can be just as obsessive as a lot of humans. When my dog gets fixated on something, forget about trying to get him to move on to anything else!
Try as I might, I’ve never quite figured out what triggers his obsession du jour. Often, I’ll head down to the
beach with both a ball and a stick. (Actually, a small fireplace log. Kemba prefers a piece of wood he can sink his teeth into.) I do this because he hasn’t yet indicated if it’s gonna be a ball day or a stick day. First I throw the ball. Nope. Then, I’ll heave the mini-log. Still nothing doing. Hmm. He prowls the sand . . . and stops at a desiccated, almost petrified, banana peel. Circa 2015, if not before. That’s what he wants to play with today. And only that.
My whole family is well acquainted with Kemba’s singleness of purpose. Last spring I misfired on a Chuck-it fling in Greg’s backyard, sailing the “chosen” tennis ball way over the fence onto the neighbor’s property. Of course, Kemba began digging frantically at the base of the fence. I tried to coax his attention over to another close-to-identical ball. What was I thinking? When has that ever worked? As the dirt went flying and the hole got deeper, Greg gave me an incredulous look: You’re really going to let your dog dig up my yard for a tennis ball??!! Yup, I was. Because it wasn’t a tennis ball. It was the tennis ball.
Another dilemma: Occasionally, after Kemba has retrieved the same ball in the water 250 times or so, it will develop a puncture. And eventually, of course, it will sink. But does Kemba give up? No, he does not. He’ll paddle and paddle in the area where the ball was last seen, from time to time ducking his head for a better look. I’ll call for him to come back. I’ll tell him, “That’s okay, good boy, we’ll find another ball.” But no. He keeps on paddling. I have to actually retreat to my car and turn on the engine before he’ll very reluctantly give up and join me.
So yes, Elise, I’ve been there. I know exactly what you mean about Kemba and his pursuit of Hello Kitty.