For some dog owners, playing with their pets has become a chore instead of a game, a shift that reflects our increasingly sedentary and time-obsessed society.
Fetch is a game you play with your dog (or perhaps, a game you play on your dog), in which you throw an object, your dog chases it down and brings it back to you, and you restart the process by throwing the object away again. Fetch requires next to no effort from the dog owner. It is so simple and monotonous that telling another person to go fetch something is almost demeaning. But humans, in our infinite quest for ease and comfort, had to make fetch even easier. Hence, (for lack of a better term) the fetching stick:
In short, some dog owners have decided that fetch is no longer a game, but a chore. Grabbing a ball off the ground became too burdensome, so they needed a tool to make it easier. Perhaps their bodies were no longer accustomed to the simple movement of bending over to pick up a ball. Perhaps they simply became lazy.
But, really, how hard is it for a perfectly able person to bend down and grab something off the ground? Are humans so indolent they no longer want to perform basic movements? Or so deconditioned that even touching their toes is an injury risk?
Advertisements for these products offer excuses for their existence:
1. “Never pick up a slobbery ball again!”
You pick up your dog’s poop and you’re squeamish about saliva? And if your dog hasn’t tried to lick you before, you haven’t owned a dog.
2. “Throw farther and faster than ever before!”
Whose dog needs them to throw a ball 200 feet for a proper game of fetch? If you can’t toss a tennis ball far enough for your dog to chase it, figure out why you can’t throw instead of disguising that glaring movement hole.
3. “Exercise your dog in a fraction of the time!”
Because it takes so long to bend down and pick up a ball with the intricately evolved tool Nature has given you called your hand. Besides, playing with your dog is not a race. It’s not a chore. If it is, don’t get a dog.
These products would transform a game of fetch into a menial duty. They are marketed toward dog owners who acknowledge the importance of play and exercise for their pets but find it too burdensome to engage in minimal movement themselves. And even worse, the most preoccupied owners can purchase an automatic ball launcher so that they don’t even have to spend time with their dogs at all:
1. “ChuckIt-grass.” Image. Online. 24 March 2017. http://www.dogster.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ChuckIt-grass.jpg.
2. “godoggo-remote-fetch-automatic-tennis-ball-launcher-for-dogs-xl.” Image. Online. 24 March 2017. http://www.thegreenhead.com/2009/10/godoggo-remote-fetch-automatic-tennis-ball-launcher-for-dogs.php.