4 min read

Shelter Dog Who Was Scared Of Tennis Ball Now Loves Playing Fetch

It's amazing what a bit of patience and love can do for an animal who has clearly been shown very little of either.

Not much is known about Dutch, a gentle dog who was picked up recently as a stray. Staff at the Philadelphia animal shelter where he was placed believe him to be about 2 years old, though his behavior suggests he's never become acquainted with even the most basic toy.

The Dodo spoke with Bridget, a volunteer at the shelter, who discovered this sad possibility after dropping by to give Dutch a break from being cooped up in a kennel.

I go to the shelter regularly to let the dogs out, and I noticed he wasn't walked for a couple of days. So I took him outside to the yard, and I saw him sniffing around something. I thought maybe he found a small animal, but when I walked over I saw it was just a ball. It's like he didn't know what it was, or how to play with it. I think he thought it might be something dangerous.

Bridget recorded a video of Dutch's bittersweet encounter with the ball - but the story doesn't end there.

It wasn't long before the dog, sensing perhaps that he was finally among people whom he could trust, discovered the joy of a game most pets like him learn as puppies - fetch.

"Once he realized it wasn't going to hurt him, he wanted to play with it," said Bridget.

Just two days after that first scene of Dutch being skittish around the ball, we have a very happy update. Here's another clip from Bridget showing the dog now playing fetch like a pro.

While Dutch has certainly made a big step forward in realizing life's little pleasures, he's still yet to discover the most important thing of all - what it feels like to live in a forever home with people who love him.

For folks who might be interested in adopting Dutch (and providing him with a lifetime of playing fetch), contact Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Team on Facebook, or by emailing lifesaving@acctphilly.org.