Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Handoff

When you like to play as much as Couper likes to play, it really pays to know your teammates. In the picture above, I am on the floor (in photography mode, obviously). When human beings are on the floor, Couper immediately recognizes them as in play-mode. Here, Couper is going to nudge that ball somewhere within an 8 foot radius of my current position and then demand that I get and then throw the ball. If I am lucky, he will nudge it within my normal reach. Hopefully it will be within my stretched out reach. Here, it looks like that ball is going way left and I'm probably going to have to get off my chubby lazy butt to get it. Any which way, he knows that wherever it goes, I will eventually get and throw that ball.

On Sundays, Couper's Gamma Buddy comes to visit. Couper's Gamma Buddy is in advanced stages of MS. She is in a motorized chair and has essentially no use of her left hand or left leg. Her right hand is functional, but still far from 100%

Despite never having a dog (grrrrr!!!), Couper's Gamma Buddy really likes our puppies. And she really really likes Couper. Maybe it was because Couper, being the first dog to step foot in her house many years ago, came out of his kennel and barked at her. He was as feisty as she was. Whatever it was, they have formed a bond over the years.

When Couper's Gamma Buddy comes to the house on Sundays, the dogs are gated in the kitchen as we let her in the house. We make sure she gets through the entrance from the garage, past the laundry room, and into the main hall. Then, I release the hounds. The dogs were already screaming as soon as they heard voices. When I open the gates, they spring towards Gamma Buddy and she starts immediately laughing. (Is it any wonder that when people talk about the benefits of owning dogs they always talk about how the dogs react when they come home...it is the greatest). Godiva will run around in circles, here and there stopping to say hi to Gamma Buddy. Frankie is new to the game and will usually run to his new Mommy. Couper runs to get a ball.

And then the fun really begins. Couper, either knowing or having learned that his Gamma Buddy cannot use her left hand, will run to her, hop his front paws on her right calf and hand the ball perfectly into her right hand. She then throws the ball to the door of our den, he grabs it, and repeats the process; each time placing the ball perfectly into her right hand. And he would do this for who knows how long, except that I call him out to go potty and let his Gamma Buddy get settled.

So Couper is the ultimate quarterback. Playing with Big Buddy? Nudge the ball anywhere. He'll go get it. Playing with Gamma Buddy? Place it gently in her right hand with just the right amount of patience to make sure she can grip it. Unitas, Montana, Brady, Manning, Couper.

No comments: