Dog 'obsessed' with tennis balls steals more than one hundred from Kent park

Buddy, began the habit three years ago after he was neutered as a puppy. Credit: Shauneen Fowler

A dog owner has returned more than 100 tennis balls to her local park after her pet began collecting them from bushes.

Shauneen Fowler's nine-year-old Jack Russell, Buddy, began the habit three years ago after he was neutered as a puppy.

Shauneen said: "When he was younger, he wasn't really interested in them. I would throw them and he would just look at me.

"He then went and got neutered and came back with a tennis ball in his mouth and pretty much that was the beginning of his obsession.

  • Shauneen Fowler says her dog Buddy began collecting tennis balls three years ago

"We joke that he decided, cause we took his away, he was taking everyone else's away."

The 42-year-old moved to Rochester High Street, Kent, in November 2020.

Shauneen would take Buddy for a walk to nearby Jackson’s Field every day, where there are four public tennis courts.

Buddy would rarely return without a discarded or lost tennis ball.

Buddy collected the tennis balls from bushes near a local tennis court. Credit: Shauneen Fowler

Shauneen would try to throw the balls back into the courts, but Buddy would retrieve them or find some more, so she began to take them home.

She said: "The first couple of times he went into the bushes, he would leave them as he just wanted to play with them.

"Three days after he started finding them he would bring them to me and not let me leave them on the floor, he would keep picking them up and if I went to put them back he would bring them back to me.

"That was when I realised I had no choice but to take them home and keep them safe.

Buddy wouldn't let his owner Shauneen leave the tennis balls at the park. Credit: Shauneen Fowler

"They started off going into my cupboard, but then my cupboard got full. There was no room for my shoes."

When Shauneen eventually moved, she knew she had to return the tennis balls for players to use, so she took them back to the courts and left them there in black bags.

Shauneen hopes those who have lost their tennis balls in the past, now have them back.

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