The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Inconceivable Tragedy in the Backyard

Chester had not gotten to play fetch in several days, so last night, he spent a lot of time looking pointedly at me and then standing in front of the refrigerator and looking pointedly at the ball, which lives on top of the fridge, out of his grasp. Finally, around 7:30pm, I relented, and we headed out to the backyard for a little game of fetch.

Chester and I used to play fetch every other day or so at an open field nearby our house where dogs were often seen off leash. We haven't been able to go there in quite some time because of Chester's injuries. Now, he's ready, but I'd heard that in our six month absence, they started ticketing for dogs off the leash, so I haven't ventured back there.

So our meager backyard has become the location of recent games of fetch. It is small--only about 20 feet deep by about 12 feet wide. The backyards of my neighbors run the length of our backyard in our row home neighborhood.

We had not been playing long--maybe 10 or 15 minutes--when it happened. Chester jumped up to catch the ball, but in the darkness of the new time change, he misjudged the grab. Rather than securing the ball in his mouth, he snapped his jaws shut too quickly, and the ball was shot upwards and outwards with force. It sailed high into the night sky, 15 feet or more, and it landed in my next door neighbor's yard.

This was not the first time this had happened. I have climbed the fence between my yard and my neighbor's yard on many occassions. But not tonight. I was not in the mood. Instead, I told Chester, "Too bad," and I went into the house, holding the back door open for him to follow.

But he could not. He could only stand at the fence, at the exact location where the ball had sailed over, and stare at its resting place. It wasn't so much that he didn't want to come inside. It was more that every part of his body was refusing to allow him to. He was a retreiver, and the ball was not retrieved. He could no sooner abandon it there than a mother could abandon her child.

Whining, he urgently tried to enlist me to help him get the ball. No game of fetch between us had ever ended this way, with his failure to return the ball to me. I must do something, but somehow I didn't. My heart was hardened, and eventually, he had to do the unthinkable. He had to leave the ball behind.


  • Poor Dog! You write very well but that was cruel to leave him wanting his ball like that. Being he's a retreiver, I am sure he feels like he has failed you by not getting the ball.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 AM, November 02, 2004  

  • It sounds like a little part of Chester died last night. Absolutely heartbreaking.

    By Blogger Newell, at 1:34 PM, November 02, 2004  

  • Oh poor Chester! Trevor would die without his ball. He sleeps with it, cuddles with it, plays with it, guards it and loves it. To separate him from his ball would surely kill him. Besides us it's his best friend.

    By Blogger foxymama, at 2:20 PM, November 02, 2004  

  • That was the most traumatic dog story I have ever read.... I agree with 'anonymous', I feel bad for Chester because he probably feels like he let YOU down.

    By Blogger tescosuicide, at 8:55 PM, November 02, 2004  

  • Everyone, Oh my, don't I feel like shit now! Such harsh criticism of me! Well, I assure those of you who are not my regular readers that Chester's life is far from horrible and torturous. In my defence, I have spend $5000 in knee surgery this summer for Chester just so that he could continue to play fetch. And while the weather was warm, I drove him three or four times a week to a swimming hole where we played fetch in the water (no impact for his recovering knees). And never fear, Chester got to play a very satisfying game of fetch this afternoon in a real field where he could run and run after the ball. I think it's safe to say that he's over the trauma of last night. I guess it's my own fault that I wrote from his point of view so convincingly. I'm glad my post struck such a strong cord with you, but don't worry about Chester. He's a dog; his memory is short; and he's easy to bribe.

    Foxy, Aren't you lucky with Trevor! I think Chester would take the ball over me just about any day of the week!

    By Blogger Oz, at 9:15 PM, November 02, 2004  

  • I just read this post to Bogey... I better not repeat what he told me.

    By Blogger Dan, at 9:31 AM, November 03, 2004  

  • Dan, What can I say? Apparently, I am evil incarnate. Bogey should be happy he lives far, far away from me.

    By Blogger Oz, at 1:45 PM, November 03, 2004  

  • Ok, I know youve gotten a lot of heat for what happened, so I wont say anything more...except...can you please, please, please give Chester back his ball?

    By Blogger D.T., at 4:19 PM, November 03, 2004  

  • phew.. i was scared for a sec about all the "off the leash talk" that the tragedy occured while him trying to get the ball back from the neighbors yard. i bet you wrote it like that on purpose... thanks.

    By Blogger Jean, at 6:51 PM, November 03, 2004  

  • *hugs*

    love you sweetie

    By Blogger Vadergrrrl, at 12:14 AM, November 04, 2004  

  • DT, After I finish whipping myself for being such a bad dog owner, I'll get right on that.

    Jean, The tragedy was only inconceivable to Chester. You and I could obviously think of much worse things, but for him, that's about as bad as it gets.

    Vader, At least you still like me.

    By Blogger Oz, at 1:53 PM, November 05, 2004  

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