Because of this summer's life lemons (you know, the ones were supposed to make lemonade with -- hehe, thanks, Mary!), the poor Chessie pup never got her introduction-to-the-water trip to the cottage.
You will recall, Tuc had one such trip as a pup during which we taught him to swim (well, we only helped him develop confidence -- he already knew how). We've done the same with all the dogs over the years. But none of the doggies made it to the cottage in 2010. How sad!
When we saw that the forecast for Sunday included sun and 70-degree-plus temperatures (F), we knew we had to take advantage of the beautiful weather for an expose-Chessie-to-water trip. The cottage was closed for the winter, though, and it's a bit too far for a day trip anyway. Hmmm... what to do.
Ah ha! Lake Nockamixon (Nockamixon State Park) is only a 25-minute drive, and doggies are allowed there (on lead or actively working). Chessie could learn to swim at Nockamixon!
So we loaded Chessie and Momma Kenya into the van, planning to leave the rest of the canine crew behind because we didn't want Chessie to be overwhelmed by the others in the water.
The crew was not happy.
Oh my, such betrayal! Take only two of the six swimming, how could we? Heresy! We had eight accusing, pleading eyes following our every move as we prepared to go. Though it took some steely resolve, go (without them) we did.
Kenya and Chessie rode in the car fabulously, staying close to our seats for the trip. Both were incredibly focused on us (nervousness? anticipation? excitement?), so much so that they wouldn't even let Don fill up the car with gas without keeping an eye on him (that's Don's green sweatshirt in the center outside the window, Kenya's wide girth on the seat, and Chessie's planted bottom in the way-back where she's watching Don's every move):
We arrived at the lake, walked to the shore, and took Kenya off lead. She, of course, bee-lined for the water. Chessie wanted to follow, but we kept her on lead to give her a moment to get used to her new environment:
As we expected, Kenya kicked right in (without distraction or hesitation ) with her solid, focused, water-retrieving skills. We hoped that her ease and efficiency in the water would help Chessie acclimate quickly.
We needn't have worried. Chessie is Kenya's and Ridge's pup, after all, and both are strongly water-oriented and solid with their visual tracking. Chessie took to water retrieving quite naturally.
For just a moment or two she paced and whimpered in the shallows, not quite knowing how to get to Kenya...
then she jumped right in:
When it came to actually retrieving, however, Chessie preferred to let Momma Kenya do the work. Kenya would spot the dummy and bring it part way in, then Chessie would sneak up on Kenya and claim the dummy as her own:
Her quick acclimation didn't mean (hehe) that Chessie demonstrated the epitome of style and grace. Poor pup. Sometimes she was less-than-fluid in her movement:
And sometimes she forgot to keep her gangly legs paddling (ooops... yup... she sank):
But for the most part Chessie took to lake-retrieving like a duck....no...more like a Lab takes to water. :)
And she did eventually figure out how to spot and swim out to a dummy, grab it, and bring it back all on her own.
Smart girl. Silly imp girl. Oh, but delightful, make-me-giggle girl.
Chessie's Great Water Adventure was a grand one indeed. She survived; Kenya thrived, and we all came home a little better, and wetter, for the wear!
Next up: my favorite pics from the day! :)
'Til next time,