As far as Levi and Gimpy were concerned, I might as well have been watching "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" as last night's vice-presidential debate. Apparently, my dogs are only interested in their future once a day, between four p.m. and whatever minute near five o'clock I set their supper dishes in front of them. The rest of their waking hours are spent playing some kind of game with the tennis ball.
No TV viewing in this house is unaccompanied by some form of a ball game, so I have been forced to learn to multi-task. These days it's rare if I miss a plot point when I have to grab the broom and use its handle to whack a ball out from under a piece of furniture. If I happen to notice that both dogs are sitting at attention, watching me expectantly, then I know that a sloppy-wet tennis ball has been dropped into my lap or onto the sofa beside me, and I can find it and toss or bounce it into neutral territory without missing any important dialogue. I do admit to using the "pause" button when the ball-retrieval process involves the actual moving of a sofa or other large piece of furniture.
Anyway, I was able to become absorbed in the nuances of last night's debate because Levi and Gimpy were playing a variation of their usual game. In this particular version, Gimpy stuffs the ball so deeply between the sofa cushions that he can't get it out. Most of the time when that happens, Levi jumps up, pushes his snout (a fraction longer than Gimpy's) into the depths of the cushion-cave, and gets the ball. Last night, however, Levi couldn't get it either, and my concentration on the debate was suddenly interrupted by the sounds of frantic digging and the sight of curly, blond hind-ends waving in the air.
I shouted, "Stop it!" and both dogs leaped off the sofa as I got up to get their ball. I swear there was gratitude on their faces until my own expression turned to one of shock and horror and swear words exploded out of my mouth. Right next to where the ball was buried was a hole in my leather sofa. I couldn't believe it had finally happened.
The hole is a little one, a rip no larger than the circumference of a misplaced canine tooth. It's small enough that I'm hopeful it can be repaired, but large enough it'll leave an obvious scar.
Until it's fixed, though, I have to keep the dogs away from it, so there'll be no ball-playing in the living room for now. I know from experience that what I may see as a little hole looks like a source of endless possibilities to a curious dog.