Friday, July 17, 2009

Guinness' First Swim

If you have been following Guinness' progress you might remember his aversion to going into the water. We had hoped he would, early on, be attracted to it due to the Lab in him. He had the retrieving part down real good, but, over the months, continued to dislike going into water. We worked with him over the following months and in late spring he finally started to venture in, but we believe it was still too cold for his liking.

Today we took him to a small recreation park, Morgan's Bridge, on the Ogeechee River, just 4 miles from Berry Oaks. Very convenient. It was quite warm, 97F/31C, and we hoped the lure of the cool river would overcome his fear of it. We put him on a 50 foot/ 15 meter long leash so we would have some control over him, yet, he would also have some sense of freedom. He is getting to like his freedom.

Once we were ready we led him down to the concrete boat ramp and up to the river's edge. I started to walk in and by the time I was up to my knees, to our surprise, he leaped right in and started to frolic around. Wow!!! He loved it. I immediately looked around for a stick to throw (his weakness). Finding one, I threw it in close to the shore and he went straight for it bouncing through the water. He brought it back and dropped it wanting to go again. I obliged him, again and again and again.

After a few minutes, I started to throw the stick out a bit farther and farther. Then it happened. Guinness went after the stick which, by this time, was over his head. He started to swim!!!! Those big webbed paws and his strong tail took over. He was elated. Once he returned he started to jump and became so excited he almost forgot his stick. Almost. From that point on he was like a small child at the beach. You have to drag them out.

His first few tries at retrieving the stick was a bit clumsy. He went under a couple of times, but only for a second or two. I had his leash tight and if there was a hint of trouble, I would haul him in, but no....he, very quickly, became the accomplished swimmer he was born as. And my goodness, can he swim.

We gave him a half a dozen turns of this new found play time ranging 15-20 minutes each making him take a 10 minute break in between. He was insatiable. Finally, we had to call it quits for he was struggling to bring the stick back. Of course, he did not want to quit and just like a small child we just about had to drag him out of the river.

Once he was dried off he sat and watched the other people at the park. He loves to people watch. We packed up and made the 5 minute trip back to Berry Oaks where he immediately, after a washing off and another drying, went to sleep for almost two hours. Talk about whooped. During that time I took the pictures and video that we had taken and put them all together in a short video that I have posted on You Tube (see below). We hope you enjoy it at least a fraction of how we did today. Woo Hoo!!! He's a swimmer.

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