The other night, Sadie was playing with her little squeaky ball, as usual. She would squeak it for a few minutes and then drop it by me, asking me to do something with it for her. At first I just threw the ball so she could go get it, but then she stopped chasing it. She just looked at me and whined until I went and got the ball so she could start squeaking again. But a few minutes later she dropped the ball in front of me again. I didn’t want to throw the ball, since I didn’t want to get up and fetch it myself again, so I looked around the living room to see what I had to work with. That’s when I noticed the empty laundry basket, waiting to be brought to the laundry room.
When feeling mischievous in the past, I’ve put both Sadie and her ball into the laundry basket to try to keep her squeaking happily without the ball ending up under the furniture. (Read more about that here). But this time I decided to try something different. The next time Sadie brought me her ball, I put it underneath the overturned laundry basket. At first Sadie just looked back and forth from me to the basket, as if she expected me to fix it. Then she barked at the basket. When that didn’t help, Sadie walked in circles around the basket, examining it for weaknesses. She noticed a small gap where the curved sides of the basket don’t quite meet with the floor. Sadie stuck her nose in this gap and managed to lift the basket enough to crawl under it. A second or two after Sadie disappeared under the basket, the squeaking noises began. I had expected Sadie to cry as soon as she was under the basket to be let back out, but instead, she sat down and started squeaking. After a minute I took the basket off of her and she wagged her tail happily at me. She got up and took her ball to a dog bed and started squeaking again. But a few seconds later, Sadie came back over. Instead of dropping the ball by me, this time Sadie dropped the ball in front of the laundry basket. She was clearly asking me to put the ball under the basket again. So I put her ball back under the laundry basket, and Sadie crawled back underneath and started squeaking. This time I decided to see how long she would stay under there squeaking. After about five minutes of continuous squeaking, I got curious. The laundry basket has small circular holes in the sides, so I decided to put my camera up to the holes and see what kind of pictures I would get. Most came out blurry, but the ones I chose to share today I thought were amusing. To me the photos look like I had a spy camera and I was taking secret photos of my dog.
This week’s 52 Snapshots of Life theme is create. I decided this was the prefect reason to finally put into action a little DIY project I’d been meaning to try for Sadie’s entertainment – I created a doggie ball pit. Actually I created two ball pits, as Sadie wasn’t really comfortable with my first attempt.
I began with a laundry hamper. I filled it with all of Sadie’s ball-shaped dog toys, along with some other balls I found around the house. Then I put Sadie inside. She was a little scared at first, like she couldn’t quite find her footing among all the balls. She didn’t really sniff around or play like I imagined she would. She just sat down and stared at me. I played catch with her a little while she sat in the laundry basket ball pit, and she did seem to enjoy that experience. But overall the laundry basket version of a ball pit just wasn’t working for my pup.
So I went back to the drawing board, so to speak. I got out the playpen I had for Sadie when she was a puppy. I poured all the balls into the playpen and let Sadie inside. She immediately started wagging her tail like crazy and ran around trying to sniff each individual ball. Although I didn’t have enough balls to fill up the playpen as much as I envisioned, I think Sadie is happier as a result. She feels safe and comfortable being able to walk among the balls, instead of having to stand on them or push through them. She loves running into the pit and digging through the balls until she finds one she feels like playing with. I think she sees the playpen ball pit as a kind of walk-in toy box. So clearly my creation didn’t turn out exactly like I planned, but I think Sadie still appreciates my efforts.