Courtesy of The Animal Ark Pet Services
Kayley Drewitt was walking one of her regular clients, an English springer spaniel named Ozzy, last Thursday when they came across a cardboard box at their local park in eastern England. It was filled with quite ordinary items—a bunch of tennis balls—but was inscribed with an extraordinarily bittersweet message.
"I am too old to play with my favorite tennis balls now. But it would make me very happy to know that some younger doggies would have fun with them," the black print read.
Lian Wymer had written the message on behalf of her 10-year-old cocker spaniel, Jarvis. He loves a good tennis ball, but his advancing age forced his tennis-ball retirement. So it's now up to dogs like Ozzy to pick up the playtime slack.
"He put his nose straight in, chose a ball and began to play. We had a long game of fetch, and [he] tried out lots of different balls," Drewitt wrote in a message to Daily Paws. She runs The Animal Ark Pet Services, a pet walking and sitting service based in Ely.
Wymer and her husband retrieved the balls from the back of their car. He wanted to throw them away, but she told Cambridgeshire Live she'd rather give them to another dog. Unfortunately, Jarvis, who will turn 11 in January, can no longer play with them. He suffers from severe arthritis and is recovering from septic arthritis, which requires daily pain relief. That's why the box arrived at Ely Country Park.
"I just hoped that the box and the message from Jarvis would brighten up somebody's day," Wymer tells Daily Paws.
Jarvis loved tennis balls so much that he would carry them around on walks. If they came across another ball, he'd try to pick that one up, too. If he came across a box like that one Wymer left in the park, it would've been happiness overload.
"That's part of the reason I did what I did, to make some other dogs happy," his mom says.
It sure worked. Ozzy had a grand ol' time when he and Drewitt arrived at the park toward the end of their walk. She didn't know what was in the box at first, but it turned out to be something "really lovely," a bit of a bright spot during our current hard times.
"After the pandemic and how isolated we have been, it really was just the act of kindness that's needed," Drewitt says. " It definitely gave me that warm and fuzzy boost I've not had for a long while."
Wymer, who sells crafts and donates the profits to animal charities, saw on Instagram that Drewitt had come across the box, so the two of them exchanged messages. Soon, they'll join each other for a dog walk, Jarvis included.
"This whole thing has been such a lovely surprise and to learn that it has made lots of people smile is just so wonderful," Wymer says. "Jarvis is such a beautiful, kind, sweet, gentle, caring boy and now lots of people know that."