Barking Blondes: Wagging at Wimbledon, Novak Doggovic and four-legged ball boys
This week’s Wimbledon highlight, for us, was the Novak Djokovic press conference. He insisted on talking about his dog. Unlike the familiar post-match predictable questioning with the usual lackluster answers, he launched into an amusing monologue about his poodle. Apparently he and his girlfriend have brought Pierre, their toy poodle, over to London. He was purchased in Germany and is now four years old, has three passports and considers himself Serbian. It was at this point a female voice, off camera, could be heard shouting “Is he on your restrictive diet?” It appeared the voice belonged to Maria Sharapova, who was waiting in line for her own press post mortem.
“Yes,” responded Djokovic. “ My dog is gluten free… what about yours? “
“My dog is too fat,” she shrieked. “But I must say yours is very small.”
Much laughter followed, showing, as we so often discover on our radio show, the best way to get a good interview, is to ask if the celebrity has a dog!
Our local tennis courts are predictably booked out this fortnight with sporting hopefuls. Unfortunately they are situated in one of the park’s most popular dog walking areas. There is a little café with dog bowls dotted about, which is very generous considering the disruption pooches often cause. Both our bull breeds, Molly and Matilda, are keen on a game of ball. In the winter months, when all is deserted, they often dive under a hedge to emerge with a bald, faded, green ball in their mouths, a reminder of the summer.
This month it’s a very different scene. All the courts are busy with day-glo green balls flying in all directions. It’s a dog walker’s nightmare – but for dogs it’s heaven.
Their sometimes dormant hunting instinct is now alert as they wait for the random ball to come flying over the wire fence. Then it’s a race between owner and mutt to see who can retrieve it first. Hopefully it’s the owner who can chuck the ball back over the fence, dry and untouched by canine teeth.
How often, though, have we mistimed it, only to see one of our two dive for the ball, grab it and race off to the other side of Regent’s Park leaving the on court players waiting patiently for it to be returned. After what seems ages of chasing, grappling and shouting “DROP” we finally release ball from dog’s mouth and chuck it back over where it lands sodden and punctured, lacking any bounce. “Sorry”, we mutter, whilst pretending to scold the dogs.
On Tuesday, what looked like four Scandinavian aupairs or nannies released from child-minding duties, were playing a game of doubles. They had tied the family dog, a spaniel called – inappropriately – Passion, to the court’s wire fence. This animal obviously believed he was there to guard all the courts. We watched from under the safety of a parasol as he barked and growled at any new player attempting to enter their court. Eventually, one of the Swedish beauties ran over to him, unleashed his lead and watched him take off across all courts in chase of green balls. “Passion! Passion!” she screamed with no effect as children and adults scattered.
This made us think again of Wimbledon. Instead of the occasional pigeon landing on Centre Court stopping play, just how wonderful would it be to see Djokovic between games, sitting by the umpire’s chair. He looks up and there, running towards him, dragging a chair to which he’d been tied (we’ve seen this happen on stage to an actor) is Pierre the poodle in search of his master and green balls.
‘Barking at the Moon’ airs on Thursdays between 10pm and midnight on BBC London 94.9FMTagged in: dogs, Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic, pet care, pets, Wimbledon
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