Last weekend we decided it was time to take Penny for her first swim because Mother Nature was actually acting like it was Spring (for about a day and a half before it snowed again). We took a quick drive around the lake to the other side where there is a park and a beach to play some fetch on the field and then ease her in to the idea of swimming. Needless to say, she experienced quite a few emotions during the process that started with a minor freakout over the fact that the ice on the lake had disappeared. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her look so panicked and sad, staring at the now moving water that she was once able to frolic about without getting wet.
Luring her into the water was quite the production, and involved multiple tennis balls, sticks, and me in tall boots wading out to prove she wasn’t going to die if she touched the water. I never thought it would take this much coaxing to get a Golden Retriever into a lake. When we finally got her in, she stood there and looked at me like this:
It was like I had betrayed her tiny trust. She was now covered in the thing she begs us to fill her bowl with, and had no idea what to do with that information.
|But mooooooooom – I’m all wet!|
Eventually, she started running out on her own for the ball when we threw it, but if she had to go past the point that she could touch the bottom she would turn around and walk back. The ball hung out on its own for quite a while, bobbing in the water, waiting for her to retrieve it.
|OMG I CAN’T TOUCH THE BOTTOM THIS IS TERRIBLE AHHHHHHH!|
|Oh, just kidding. I can walk now.|
After a while, she realized we weren’t trying to kill her and that this whole swimming thing could potentially be fun. Her doggy paddle is somewhat hilarious because she’s splashing so hard out of the water, she just pushes what she’s trying to grab further away from herself.
And then she just starts swimming in circles.
She’d bring us back her ball, and sometimes just a stick in lieu of the ball.
We watched her try to grab both a few times to not avail. In time, I’m sure she’ll master the art of fetching multiple items at a time.
Then she started asking us to throw things, and she would sit at attention on one of the floating docks that was moored by the sand so that she could get a better view of where we were throwing her temporarily favorite toy.
And eventually came straight up enthusiasm. She bounded in and out of the water, delighted at the idea of doing it all over again a short time later.
It was finally time to head home, and she started somewhat longingly at the water:
Luckily for her, we live on the water! The only difference is that there’s no beach on our side – just a rock wall that requires more of a commitment to jump in than the gradual wading you can do at the beach.
So once we got home, we went back down to the lake and she sat right on the edge with the look of, “Are you going to throw it or what? Hurry up.”
After a bit more playtime in the water, it was clear that she had finally grown tired of all the excitement. Since it was still warm outside, we all hung out on the deck with some drinks and enjoyed the remaining sunshine.
There are two hilarious things about the way Penny dries after being wet:
- Her ears crimp and she turns into an 80’s teenager.
- Her fur dries in such a way that she resembles a guinea pig.
As much as I can appreciate her individuality, we wet her down a little more and brushed her so she looks less like a dog stuck in the 80s with an identity crisis. After that, she settled herself in one of the Adirondack chairs to survey her kingdom. I think she had a pretty good day.