Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pool Safety-"I'm a Sinker, Not a Swimmer!"

OK, so we have now established the fact that Hawk will *not* be aspiring to become an Olympic swimmer. Mom and dad have a big back yard, lots of grass and plenty of lizard-hunting opportunities in the azaleas and other natural areas. They also have a pool.

Hawk has a real aversion to water. He won't walk out in the wet grass, he hates to swim, although he's gotten better about tolerating all the bathing that comes with being a show dog. When we went to Eukanuba last year, Lori took Hawk out into the ocean at the Long Beach dog beach, and Hawk was not nearly as amused as I was!

So, because Hawk and the residents Candy and Sally (both rescues, a Brittany and Weim) love to race around the yard and run like banshees, I wanted to be sure Hawk could find his way to the steps of the pool if he were to fall in. He would never get in on purpose, but you never know. I put Hawk in at the steps, and he did OK on the second step, climbing up to the first step and then out of the pool. Then I put him in at the side of the pool, about 6 feet from the steps. I set him in the pool in the "dog paddle" position, topline level with the surface of the water. He swam like a good dog, right over to the steps.

The third attempt, since he was soaking wet and I didn't want to be soaking wet, I carried him with my hands under his front legs, and set him in the water back feet first, then front feet. He started paddling before I let go of him, and then, well, then he sank... EEEK. Yes, he sank, straight down, like his tushy was full of lead. For a split second, I figured he'd level out and swim, and almost in slow motion, his little head just disappeared even as I was reaching to grab him. Poor little guy! I didn't want to pull him out of the pool until he realized he could swim to the steps, so I just reached under and helped his back end get up to the level of his front end. Then he swam right to the steps without any issues.

And after that, he stayed far, far away from me in the back yard! I think he's forgiven me, and I guess if nothing else, he will be even more aware of the pool. I don't leave him out unattended, but you just never know. I know I've heard stories about kids and dogs that drown even while people are standing nearby.

I think Hawk has enjoyed the lizard-hunting, and I know he thinks it is great fun to zoom around with the resident Brittany. Candy has energy to burn, and Hawk just feeds off of that kind of stuff. Tonight, we get to go for a walk around the neighborhood. :-)

1 comment:

The Writer said...

Poor guy! BJ, my daughters black lab that wouldn't retrieve hated water too and wouldn't swim. He now lives at the beach in NC.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear