I think Chester injured his back leg a few weeks ago. The tireless brute must have strained something while careening down a steep hill after his beloved ball. It’s hard to know when he’s in pain because he never makes a sound, but he seems to be putting less weight on that leg. And he’s so ball crazy, he wouldn’t stop chasing the thing if he had a jagged bone protruding from his thigh. So I’ve had to force him to take it easy. And this means no ball-throwing.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Oh, the disappointment in those eyes when we get to the park and Chester realizes I didn’t bring a ball. He always holds out a dying hope... he bounds away, turns around and crouches in his ready stance, bewildered eyes darting from my hand to the ground, behind him, then back to my hand. That implausibly long tongue flapping. If I make the slightest move toward my pocket, it becomes a gunfight in the Old West, Chester ready to draw at the twitch of my finger.
Two weeks without his ball and Chester’s getting delirium tremens, probably seeing things. So it was in this state of lunacy that he accompanied me to the park on a particularly warm day near the summer solstice. The sweet tinge of fresh cut grass filled the air, and insects buzzed, sluggish in the rare heat. Chester was on the leash next to me, pulling less than usual – perhaps the ball hiatus has finally cured his leash pulling, I thought with a smile. Then – SNAP – the leash pulled taut, almost knocking me off my feet.
Chester was suddenly behind me, pulling violently, and my shoulder’s tweaked at an odd angle. Then a voice, at first low and stammering, then gathering steam, and Chester’s making a strange noise too – and why is he pulling so hard? I turn my head and all at once the scene becomes clear. The bus stop. A wrinkled old man, struggling not to fall over. Two bright green pieces of felt, deliciously round. It’s a walker with tennis balls stuck on its front legs, and Chester’s trying to wrestle both of the balls off at the same time.
Maybe it’s time for an intervention.