Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I walked a different way home from work yesterday, coming through the park. At one point I was approaching someone walking a dog off-leash. The walker was tossing a small disk to the dog, and then it clicked. Though I didn't know the person, I recognized the little Border Collie from several visits to the dog park. Sweet, very submissive, and totally obsessed about fetching her soft frisbee. She always seemed intimidated by other dogs, avoiding them with her tail and head down. She'd creep up behind me to drop her spit soaked disk, and then lurk around until I figured out she was waiting for me to throw it. If another dog grabbed the disk, she'd silently follow until he dropped it. Nice, but really intense.

2007-09-23-0915-00Though I've read about similar cases with Border Collies, this obsessiveness certainly isn't their sole province. I think most regulars at the dog park would group Pappy in the same class with his ball fetching. He shows some personality and plays with other dogs when he first arrives at the park, but eventually he gets fixated on the ball. It's not like he's doing it to interact with a person, because he'll arbitrarily drop the ball at anyone's feet and stare at only it. Newcomers to the dog park often say they wish their dogs would retrieve a ball like Pappy, but they should be a little careful when they wish for a fetching zombie. It's good exercise for an active dog, but it seems a bit joyless. It's always a relief to me when he briefly snaps out of his trance, like when he starts prancing and barking through the ball at another dog. That cracks me up.


Lacy said...

woofies pappy, just dropped by to say hiii and nice to meet u...


jan said...

A fetching dog is also good for human biceps. At my age I take strengthening exercises where I can get them.

Pappy's Fella said...

Glad you stopped by.

I've got arms like Popeye.. toot toot!

Sophie Brador said...

Hey Pappy's fella,
Sophie is the same way. She isn't quite as intense as a border collie, but she doesn't want to do anything but fetch that ball at the park. I'm with you! Sometimes I wish she'd just chill out and mingle. She's such a workaholic!

BTW, I saw your T-shirt on Joe Stain's blog. Love it!

Beth said...

Hmm, you want focus --- Ellie + Ball. Nothing else exists. And if there isn't a ball nearby, she'll search and destroy until she finds one. Other dogs. No interest. And people are only good for throwing that slobbered filled ball.

Enjoy, 3dogs

Jackson said...

Before I got ill I was exactly the same. I don't like other dogs and ignore them where possible. I absolutely FIXATE on my ball and I would run and fetch all day long until my legs were worn into bloody stumps. J x

PS J1's ball-throwing arm has biceps like a shotputter.