About the same time that they met me, my People began to develop a more serious interest in tennis, a curious game that humans play. They had always watched this sport, but now they watch a lot, which I don’t mind because I find the rhythm of the ball quite soothing. Besides, I have a lot in common with Roger Federer (he is almost as debonair as I am).
They also like to play tennis—perhaps I should say “attempt to play tennis”—as often as possible, which in a New York winter is not very often at all. The Guy is not bad and is improving all the time. The Lady, however, was born with subpar depth perception, woeful hand-eye coordination, and no athletic ability whatsoever. I cannot decide whether it is admirable or pitiable that She persists with such enthusiasm in an activity for which she has no aptitude.
All this tennis means that we have a lot of old tennis balls, more than we can really use. For many dogs, who like to fetch tennis balls, that probably sounds like a wonderful thing. But I’m afraid I am not much of a retriever. The Lady donates many of the old tennis balls to the dog run or drops them off for recycling at the tennis center.
However, She has continued to keep a small stash of balls in the closet. Yesterday, I found out why.
Monday was cold and rainy, a miserable day when my walks had to be kept short and the dog run was out of the question. In lieu of outdoor exercise, the Lady decided to test my wits with the Tennis Ball Game. She did not invent this game, nor can She remember where she first read about it, so we can’t give credit to anyone, but if you search for it you’ll find many versions of it online. Here, for example, is one.
At first, I had no idea what She was playing at. I could smell the treats, but I didn’t know what I was supposed to do to get them. I wondered if this was some novel version of fetch. Finally, the Lady relented and lifted up a ball to demonstrate. After that, it was a piece of cake…or rather, a piece of crab and alligator treat, which is what smelled so delicious under those tennis balls.
I suppose it would be rude to point out that my tennis learning curve was much shorter than the Lady’s.
Now, how can I convince Her to bake me some crab and alligator muffins?