Karlie loved tennis balls. Actually she was obsessed with them and had the uncanny ability to find them on our walks and adventures. She loved chasing them and was so focused that she wouldn’t notice a fence or other obstacle in her way. Luckily she never hurt herself, but she always ran at full speed when chasing one. Not only did she chase them on land, but also in the water – pool, lake, and ocean. Any ball that was thrown, she would chase.

Hunting for Tennis Balls

Not only did Karlie love to chase tennis balls, but she also loved to chew and pop them. Needless to say they didn’t last long around her. To try to keep her stocked, we collected the ones she found. We filled two dresser drawers in our spare bedroom with them and moved them from Texas to California to Indiana. Most had been collected from the grass outside the tennis courts when we lived in Texas. We went running in the early morning and always stopped to check for balls left behind. I put them in my pockets and we continued the run. Karlie checked repeatedly until we returned home to make sure I still had them.

Karlie also found tennis balls several times on our walks. If they were in someone’s yard or driveway, we left them, much to her dismay. She firmly believed in finder keeps and thought all tennis balls belonged to her.

Another place we often found balls was Lake GrapeVine in Texas. We usually brought one with us, but often she found another one. We played with the tennis ball at the lake and then found a spot in the cliffs and rocks to hide it. The next time we returned she would race to the spot where we left it and find it. She never forgot the hiding place.

Making Changes

Despite the number of tennis balls we collected over the years, we never ran out. Karlie was so good at finding them that once GOLPP started to lessen her ability to chase balls, we had more than she could use. That didn’t stop us from continuing to play with them, just reduced the speed and duration. That meant that we did not go through nearly as many balls as we once had. Eventually I emptied one of the drawers, when Karlie wasn’t looking, and donated them to the San Diego Humane Society.

Saying Good Bye to the Tennis Balls

In her last year, we transitioned from tennis balls to a small KONG ball, a fleece beach ball, and a Chuck-It Indoor Ball. These were easier for playing fetch inside and didn’t wear her out since she didn’t chew on them. Despite that I could not get rid of the drawer full of tennis balls. They represented Karlie and even after we said goodbye to her, it was hard to part with them.

Just over 6 months after saying goodbye we decided to have a garage sale. As I was going through our house looking for things to sell, I opened the dresser drawer and saw her tennis balls. I decided it was time to say goodbye to them too. With tears in my eyes, I put them in a box and made a sign that said 3/$1.00. On the day of the garage sale, a man asked me how much I wanted for all of the tennis balls. There must have been at least 50 in the box. He told me they were for his dog, who loved to chase tennis balls. I could not think of someone who I wanted to have them more. He offered $5 for the box and I told him the story of Karlie and that I would love for him and his dog to enjoy her tennis balls. I think Karlie would be happy to know another dog is chasing those tennis balls that we collected over the years.

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