Almost 20 years ago, a cheap dog toy that was included in a doggie stocking arrived at my house. Zander was its first owner and he loved red ball even though subsequent years saw the introduction of a blue ball, green ball, orange ball, and even a pink one (which mysteriously disappeared into the trash can because I hate pink). Although every single ball was the same (other than the color), red ball was the only one that ever got played with. Then Zachary came along and the red ball wars begun. It wouldn't take them long to start fighting over it, so red ball would get "put away" for a while until they could share it (which only lasted a couple of weeks before it got put up again).
Once Zander was gone, red ball became the sole property of Zachary who loved and played with it almost every single day...that is until Bam came along and the red ball wars were renewed in earnest. Red ball stayed "up" until Zachary also passed and it became Bam's favorite companion. It went everywhere with him and he never ate or slept without it. Granted, it had to be occasionally bathed in the dishwasher to get the "doggie slime" off of it, but it survived through all the love and torture it was forced to endure.
For some reason, Bam decided that red ball had lived enough and last week he murdered it...in cold blood. I'm not sure if red ball committed a heinous act to deserve such a fate or if Bam has serial killer tendencies that I'm unaware of, but needless to say, I'm going to have to deal with red ball just as I did with pink ball, but I haven't been able to do it just yet. Bam spends a lot of time searching for his missing red ball now (I'm not sure if he knows what he has done...could he have blacked out the entire incident?).
The search for a replacement red ball has begun, but it's darn near impossible. They just don't make them anymore and "any 'ol red ball" ain't gonna cut it (neither will the thousands of other dog toys, both cheap and expensive, that he owns). Granted, it's kind of a relief because I knew that red ball wars would start again once the new pup arrives, but poor Bam looks so lost without it.
So, in dedication to a cheap rubber toy that has brought so much joy and envy into my household, R.I.P. Red Ball...you will be missed.
Please forgive the graphic nature of this photo...sensitive viewers may want to turn away and not look at the crime scene photo: