Letters September 2001 Issue

One Dog Toy Does Not Fit All Dogs

Regarding your review of toy balls ("Best Dog Ball Brands for Playing Fetch,” WDJ August 2001): We give a wholehearted FOUR stars to the Jolly Ball at our house, and from two years experience with them, I have to disagree with the reasons you rated this a three-star toy. Our dogs (one of which is a dead ringer for the one pictured) are brutal with their two Jolly Balls. Neither ball has been destroyed, and quite frankly, the dogs love them so much that I have to hide them so we can play MY favorite game: Frisbee.

The Jolly Ball is also very easy for me to throw. I fling it by the handle. My husband kicks it like a soccer ball. It’s easy for the dog to pick up and it looks adorable hanging out one side of our dog’s mouth, as seen in the enclosed photo.

This is Jim and Hal McGugan, enjoying
their Jolly Ball. These two have pre-
served the handle of the ball for more
than two years; several of our test dogs,
unfortunately, chewed the handles off
within a week or two.

We vote four stars and four paws up for this one!

-Tina McGugan
Palatine, IL


I have to comment on the review of the Jolly Ball you put in the August 2001 issue. You state that it held up well, despite a few tooth marks in the ball, even after several days of play.

I’m wondering what dog breeds you used for this test. I have a three-year-old male Whippet who has chewed off most of the handle and that was the first time I gave it to him over a year ago! I doubt it has improved since then, but he is only allowed to play with it when I am with him and can take it away when he starts to chew the handle.

I recommend that you print something about the Jolly Ball not being a good toy for super-chewers and to never leave a dog alone with it for long.

-Stephanie Russell
via e-mail

We’re sticking with our assessment and rating of the Jolly Ball. All of our test dogs love the balls – but some of our test dogs have trashed their Jolly Balls. My sister’s Jack Russell Terrier, Patrick, chewed the handle off within days. As we mentioned in the sidebar (Safety First: Use Common Sense), “Leave no toy unattended with any dog, anytime.” A compelling case for this admonition is contained in the following letter.


I have been breeding, showing, and training dogs for more than 15 years. I am also a professional dog groomer. I do everything with my dogs: conformation, flyball, obedience, and everything else.

I bought the Teaser Ball and within less than three minutes of having it, one of my Jack Russell Terrier’s had her head STUCK in one of the outside holes. It did not appear that this would happen, but it did. If I had not been standing right there she may have been seriously injured or even broken her neck. It was very difficult for me to remove the ball it was that stuck on her neck.

Please let your readers know of this danger. I am in no way a novice dog owner and I did not expect this to happen. I do not want anyone’s dog injured.

-Coleen Timmons, Stealth Terriers
via e-mail


Choosing the Right Shelter Dog

Just a few comments on your article about Sue Sternberg’s shelter dog evaluations (“How to Choose the Best Shelter Dog for Your Family,” WDJ July 2001). As you noted in your article, Ms. Sternberg is very rigid in her requirements of potential adoptees. If all dogs lived up to her ideals, they probably wouldn’t be in a shelter to begin with.

I, for one, wouldn’t think of harassing my dogs while they were eating (to test for temperament?). Would you like to be prodded while you were eating? Many of her issues are valid, but we would certainly eliminate the overpopulation problem if we euthanized dogs that didn’t comply with her requirements.

We all know that most shelter animals have issues that with a little love, work, and understanding can be resolved. I believe anyone that strictly adheres to these adoption guidelines is better off with a stuffed animal.

-Susan Miller
Carmel, NY


Thanks so much for your article on selecting the best shelter dogs. I volunteer at my local shelter, and I cry every time we have to euthanize sweet, quiet, wonderful (sometimes older) dogs who have stayed too long in the shelter. Many of these nice dogs are not adopted because people would rather take home a puppy, or a “tough-looking” dog, or a dog that looks like one they saw on TV. People pick dogs for the stupidest reasons! And it’s incredibly hard on the dogs (and the shelter staffers) when a dog goes home with a family that is obviously not ready or able to deal with its challenges – food aggression, fighting with other dogs, awful leash manners, whatever – and is returned to the shelter a few days later. Often, after a bad experience, people will decide not to get a dog at all.

Any dog who passes all of Sternberg’s tests will be a good candidate for any family. Well-mannered, safe, and affectionate dogs should never have to be put to sleep so that people can try (and usually fail) to make a challenging, aggressive dog get along in a world unsuited to its temperament.

-Name withheld by request
San Diego, CA

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