The Big Ball Challenge
My dog Phoenix was a cross between German Shepherd and a mutt. He was a mid-sized dog, but small in comparison to his pals, three full German Shepherds, who were quick to discipline him. And Phoenix quickly learned what he could and could not get away with.
From the time he was a pup, Phoenix had this natural tendency to fetch balls, or just about any object you could throw. I found this weird as he was never taught this, and none of the other dogs were the least bit interested in fetching. So Phoenix stole the show!
Of course this was nice, but it was an addiction -- we could not play in peace without his involvement. If we gave him his own tennis ball, he'd be ok until we started throwing around ours, then he would want to play with us. We would play with him for hours at a time. He would be panting and never go for water, even though the bowl was but a couple of paces away -- we had to literally put the ball in the water to get him to drink.
Now one day we were playing football (soccer), with a regulation size ball. Phoenix, of course, felt the need to join in, but he was unable to pick up the ball with his mouth. Every time we kicked the ball, he would attempt to pick it up. It was so funny, and he always had a perplexed look on his face. We thought he would eventually give up, but not Phoenix -- he kept trying over and over, he would even kick the ball around (a great goalkeeper!).
One day the ball was not inflated all the way. This time Phoenix sank his teeth into the ball. He finally did it. Although we were all upset that our ball had gone to the dogs, we looked at his glow of accomplishment. We quickly forgot our despair and started laughing.