Chapter 13 – Backyard Play

This is the backyard where Gabby and I played for almost her whole life, until we moved to our new house in 2012.  The yard was not all ours since it was behind a string of townhouses, but we used the whole length of it. All the neighbors loved Gabby and didn’t mind.
When I took her outside to relieve herself, after she was done I would get her attention and say, “Gabby… go get your toy!” I’d point to the steps and say again, “Go get your toy!”  She would tear across the yard and go up the steps to the basement, then I would hear her go up the steps to the foyer, then faintly hear her go up the steps within the townhouse itself.
Shortly thereafter I would hear the same sequence in reverse, growing slightly louder as she made her way back down to me. She would then appear at the top of the steps from the townhouse to the yard, wagging her tail. When she saw me, she would run down the stairs towards me, release the ball and turn and take position across the yard.  She would release the ball so it rolled pretty close to me if the grass wasn’t too high. She was definitely trying to roll it to me and serve it up!

You can see from the gleam in her eye and her expression how much she enjoyed this.

Backyard enthusiasm

This is another small streaming video I made at low resolution.  Check out the little turn and leap at the end of the video! She was a few months shy of 12 years old here.

Playing lessons
This video is pretty funny.  She runs across the yard, takes the toy and carefully places it directly in front of me, then goes and takes position. When I don’t throw it she comes up to remind me what I am supposed to do.  It’s like she is teaching me, haha!  In the original video you can actually hear a little snort of disgust before she comes up to remind me of my job.

She would run and turn so hard when she chased things I was afraid she would re-injure her back. Fortunately, she never did. The two times she hurt her back it was freak occurrences.
All action, all the time

Gabby never got bored with playing outside.  She went back and forth up the yard and never seem to tire!  The first part of the video above was made with an old smartphone. I had to cut out the audio because the wind noise was overwhelming. The second part is much better. 

If you look towards the left of the frame in the first part of the video, you will see a model rocket on a painting stand. Building and flying model rockets is one of my many hobbies.  

Above is a fun video where I attached a small keychain video camera to a two-stage model.  You can see Gab at the end when I pick up the model off the ground.  I used to love to take her to launches with my club,

Gabby the outfielder
I do not have it recorded on video, but I used to throw her latex ball straight up in the air as high as I could, which was high enough that it was pretty small up in the air, like a dot.  She would look up and track it, put herself in position, and when it hit the ground and bounced straight back up, she would jump up and snag it in the air on the first bounce.  She almost never missed!
This was one of her “outfielder” balls.  It had the perfect combination of size and bounce for this game.  Some bounced too high and fast on the grass, some didn’t bounce enough.  These were just right and whenever Petsmart had them in stock I bought a bunch of them and stashed them away.  Not only because we wore them out and lost them, but because it gave me more opportunities to pull one out and say, “Guess what… I got you a NEW TOY!”
 Playtime’s over
At the end of the play session she would follow me up the steps to go back in the townhouse.  If she left the ball in the yard I would stop there and say, “you forgot your toy!” and point to the yard.  She would turn around, go get the toy, bring it back and carry it all the way upstairs.