Fido and Me - Tennis, anyone?

“Phtooey. Pfft, Pfft.”

“Gee whiz, Fido, if I’d have known you were going to react like this, I’d have never brought you to the tennis courts. Maybe you want to sit outside the fence, and I’ll just bank the ball against the wall for a while.”

“But I like tennis balls!”

“Maybe you like them a little bit to much, Mr. Beeg. The idea is to treat the ball with tenderness—like an egg.”

“I don’t do tenderness very well.”

“Sure you do. At least you do with a rawhide toy. I’ve seen you do that.”

“But … but … but... A tennis ball is good chaw. Hard to treat it like an egg.”

“It’s probably because of its size that makes it a good chaw for you, huh?”

“It’s about the same size as a baseball, and I don’t like to chew baseballs.”

“Now that you mention it, I don’t know of any dogs who like to chew baseballs, except for maybe the group of ‘Mad Dogs,’ like Greg Maddux, Bill Madlock, Ryan Madson; or the great ‘Wonder Dog,’ himself, Rex Hudler.”

“Still, I’d like to learn how to play tennis,” Fido said.

“We’d have to bend the rules a little bit for you. Actually, we’d have to bend the rules a lot. But let’s try it out. The first thing you have to learn is the forehand or, in your case, the forenose. Or the forepaw. I hit the ball over the net, and you try to hit it back with your nose or your paw.”

“That sounds easy enough.”

“Good boy, Fido! That was almost a perfect forenose! But the thing is, you’re not supposed to go chasing it after you’ve hit it.”

“Pfft. Pfft.”

“You’ll have to step on your instincts with that. Is it possible to hit or throw a tennis ball at a dog, and not have the dog chase it and chew it?”


“That’s something you’ll have to learn.”

“I think it comes from a long history of behavior, back to the time when tennis balls weren’t made of rubber and fuzzy cloth.”

“Yegads, Boy, you are one surprising dog, I’ll tell you.”

“Tennis balls used to be made out of wool-wrapped stomachs of a sheep or goat and tied with rope.”

“I don’t think you are hard-wired that way, Fido. Want to work on your backnose and backpaw? It’s like a forenose, but switched the other way around.”

“But I am a dog! Who would know?”

“You’re right, in that adorable way you have.”

“My paws are getting hot.”

“That’s part of the game. Humans have socks and tennis shoes and have figured out how to step aside from that, so to speak.”

“But I am not a human, and my paws are getting hot.”

“There’s always lawn tennis, but we don’t have any lawn tennis courts in Mammoth. I don’t think there are any lawn tennis courts between Reno and L.A., now that I think about it.”

“We could do the next best thing.”

“I suppose you are right again, except that I don’t know what the next best thing might be.”

“Golf,” Fido said.