WET DOGS HAVE MORE FUN
Misty was our very first Golden. Not into rescue yet, we bought her as a puppy following a tragic family event. A wonderful distraction, Misty provided many lighter moments in her 16 years with us. She developed many traits that endeared her to us, and one of those involved water.
Misty was a water dog, and she was fortunate that we had an indoor pool she could consider her own. Right up to her end days, she could swim, and she did so to the exclusion of almost everything. She needed help into and out of the water in her final year, but retrieving the plastic training dummy or tennis balls remained her favorite sport. The exercise probably added years to her life, and it surely has helped mine. All anyone had to do was mention "swimming", and Misty would abandon anything else (even a favorite treat) and head for the pool. Toward the end, we had to sling her in a firewood carrier to take her down stairs she could no longer handle, but she didn't mind - anything to get to the water. In Misty’s younger days, I would throw the "toy" dozens of times on end, and she would not quit until she could no longer lift herself up the pool steps. Then, a one-minute rest, and she would be begging for more - barking loudly if the action was not fast enough. The acoustics in the concrete-walled pool room probably account for a good part of my own hearing losses. If I took time out so swim myself, she would carry her toy around and around the pool and drop it into the water closest to me. If I did not respond, she would fish it out or jump in to deliver it. If I failed to see her coming, her flailing paws sometimes reminded me with a painful scratch. This was her time in her pool, and I was expected to cater to her idea of fun. During more than one family gathering at Thanksgiving, Misty joined all the kids in the pool and exhausted herself almost to unconsciousness chasing anything thrown anywhere. She could absorb gallons of water in her fur and drip it all over the pool room carpeting. It gave the place the humidity of Calcutta and the look of the Okefenokee swamp. One evening I tossed the retrieving dummy into the pool over one hundred twenty times in less than an hour, and she never gave up - barking furiously if I was too slow getting back into the game. When I chipped golf balls into the pool, she tried to retrieve each one. She never mastered the concept of floating versus sinking objects, and she never learned that golf ball retrieval was a futile exercise. Maybe all she wanted was the thinnest excuse to throw herself into the abyss. We generally swam in the buff, so she came to recognize a naked body as a sign that the fun was at hand. (No other female in the household ever got that excited when I took my clothes off. Too bad).
It was much the same at the in-laws’ lake home “up north.” Immediately on arrival, down the stairs (all 27 of them,) full speed down the pier, mighty leap and ker-splash. This was before dock diving was a competitive sport! After launch, she divided her time among swimming randomly all over, retrieving thrown balls and fishing for rocks on the bottom in shallow water. She’d be in the water almost all day, barely drying out at night. By the end of a vacation week, assorted organisms in her fur added a distinct aroma to her presence – not always a pleasant air.
Our “soggy doggy” carried her love for the water into her final days – entertaining us all.