water retrievers

We had a great day yesterday; I took the poodles to a special spot to see if they could have a swim. The coastline here is really rough making it only swimmable by the water obsessed or big strong dogs. Neither of my guys are up to battling waves and these huge waves are the reason that Luke has never been swimming yet. Tilley was lucky; she grew up at a lake and was swimming and dock diving at an early age. She loves it and is an extremely strong swimmer and water retriever.

Yesterday at low tide my daughter and I ventured out to the spot where I hoped Tilley would get a chance to swim; it is a manmade channel making the waters nice and calm and very swimmable. It is not easy getting down the rocks to the swim area so I let the dogs off leash for two reasons: 1. They are better at finding the best way down on their own and 2: I didn't want either my daughter or myself being yanked down the rocks by an over excited poodle.

Once down on the sand they were in heaven; it is good for one's soul to see dogs running free and natural. I love it and could watch them all day long; especially when they are interacting with other canines. There were quite a few other dogs there yesterday and they were all having the time of their life. It did not take long for Tilley to kick into her shadow chasing issue so I took out her ball immediately to divert her drive.

I threw Tilley's ball in the shallows for quite a while; making sure that she was good and hooked before I tossed it into the deep blue. The first dive always takes a bit of coaxing but with her already into her ball she dove right in. We were standing at a drop off with the water only halfway to our knees; there was a clear visual drop. Luke doesn't know about drop offs so you guessed it he dropped off quickly. Panicking he tried to find his back leg footing which is the completely wrong thing to do but a very natural reaction to a non swimmer.

With his body in an upright position I watched him find his footing, come out of the water and shake it off. The drop off is so severe that he was literally only 2 feet away from the shallow spot. And I had already committed to going in if he needed me. Luckily he did not and was not too shaken by the incident. He loves water; he has just never learned to enjoy it in a swimming fashion. He wanted to go back in and with each toss of the ball he was ready to go but that little "I can't swim" thing was taunting him before he made his plunge. He pawed anxiously at the water, he really wanted to go but fear was holding him back.

So I went to the edge hoping he would come along and he did but it was such a drop off that I could not go far or I would be swimming. I grabbed a hold of him and gave him a small shove into the water, he enjoyed it and came back for more. But he is not the brave type to just go for it; although anyone could see the desire in his actions. So while Tilley continued her diving and retrieving Luke ran off to play with some other dogs in the shallows. I so wish I would have had my camera.

After about 45 minutes in the water I said "Let's quit while we're ahead," which is my motto in life. We headed back up the rocks where I gracefully lost my footing and scrapped my way back down to the sand. As we made our way to the xterra, we were all wet and I was bleeding down both legs. What a great day!

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