Today’s ball is the CRICKET ball.
The cricket ball has a long history with Dogs.
Originally employed in the Mediaeval period, cynologists (those who study Dogs) believe that the cricket ball was first employed by Dogs as a tool in the annual harvesting of the fields in Mediaeval Africa.
Scholars familiar with the period cite the drama of the time, commonly known as “Meerakle Plays,” as evidence that the balls were regularly used for two purposes: the harvesting of cotton and, later, protecting the farm against thieving Meerkats in the area.
The balls, which were constructed of cork from the northern part of Africa, are believed to have been transported to the south for the purpose of harvesting cotton. This the Dogs did by rolling the balls over the cotton as it lay in mounds on the ground, after it had been picked off the bush. As the balls picked up the cotton, they grew larger and larger until they became impossible to roll. The farmers, then, collected the balls, removed the mass of cotton from the cork base, and tossed them back to the Dogs. This tossing action scared the Meerkats and the farm Dogs soon began to use this method to secure the fields. The Dogs tossed the balls, first with their paws and, later, with branches and twigs that they collected from nearby trees.
Centuries later, after cotton harvesting became automated and other methods were used to secure the farms, the tossing of the cricket ball remained a popular pastime among the farm Dogs.
Since that time, Dogs everywhere have enjoyed various forms of play with the cricket ball.
Sources: MeerStories and Mediaeval Meerakle Plays; Farming in the Middle Ages; Domestic Chronicles of the Middle Ages,Volume 9, Farming; Farming and Manufacture from Their Beginnings Until Today, Volume 3, Balls; If Balls Could Talk; Ballieving; Follow the Bouncing Ball: How Dogs Introduced Balls to the Human World; various newspaper articles and reports.
Bailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org