Today’s ball is the TENNIS ball.
The tennis ball has a long history with Dogs.
Originally employed in the ancient world, cynologists (those who study Dogs) believe that the tennis ball was first used in the hospitality rites that were common among the ancient Canines.
Evidence from Canine epic poetry suggests that the balls were used in the entertainment portion of these rites. Citing lines from The Kyniad, the oldest of these poems, cynologists at the University of West Terrier have supported their belief that the balls were used in a type of “dance” that was performed in front of guests at the end of a meal. In Books VI and VII of the poem, young female Canines toss the ball back and forth, nose to nose, to the sound of string music.
These balls, which were originally terracotta spheres, were covered in vine leaves in order to cushion the blow to the Dogs’ noses. Historians postulate that, as this rite evolved, paddles fashioned from tree branches and fitted with cloth at one end were used to strike the ball. Many years later, the balls were refashioned out of more flexible material.
While this hospitality rite eventually disappeared from use, the dance became a favourite pastime in the years before zoocracy.
Since that time, Dogs everywhere have enjoyed various forms of play with the tennis ball.
Sources: The Kyniad; Daily Life in the Ancient Canine World, Volume 3: Balls; Balls of the Ancient Canine Games; Hospitality Rites and Rituals in the Ancient Canine World; From Sphere to Shining Sphere: A History of Balls Across the Ages; The Canine’s Illustrated Guide to Balls; Ancient Spherophiles and their Influence on History; Follow the Bouncing Ball: How Dogs Introduced Balls to the Human World; The Concept of Play in the Ancient Canine World; Balls: An Appreciation; various newspaper articles and reports.
Bailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column originally appeared in Issue #118 of The Mammalian Daily.