I am the mother of two rather large mutts. Bessie, a catahoula leopard dog/labrador retriever mix, weighs in at about 75 pounds. She’s like a lab, spotted like a cow. She even has webbed toes. We joke that between the spots and her whiskers, sometimes she resembles a leopoard seal pup. Olive, a petite lab/border collie (we think) mix, weighs in at around 45 pounds and bounces and leaps like her legs are made of springs. Watching her run is like poetry in motion. Watching her jump up and down is just plain hilarious. The one thing these two crazy girls have in common? Hatred of water.
That’s right. My two dogs, despite the fact that they supposedly have retriever running through their little puppy veins, have no interest in plunging into some body of water to retrieve dead waterfowl. In fact, they’d rather not even wade in the shallow end. Or walk through a puddle. Or go out in the rain. Or take a bath. Or, even on the hottest of hot Southern summer days, get into the kiddie pool you lovingly provided for their refreshment. On a rainy day, they will poke their little heads out the doggie door, and, at the sight of precipitation, sigh and refuse to go outside, no matter HOW BAD they have to pee. And heaven forbid you try to take Bessie to the beach. I’m sure we look like animal abusers every time we’ve tried it, because if we get too close to the waves, she basically digs her paws into the sand and refuses to go any further. And here we are, dragging her by the leash, “It’s the beach! You are such a lucky puppygirl that you get to come to the beach! Puppies LOVE water! You even have webbed toes! Isn’t this fun?” All the while our dog is acting like we are attempting to drag her into a WOOD CHIPPER. We basically don’t even bother any more.
Gone are our Iams dog food commercial fueled dreams of tossing a frisbee on the seashore as our dog bounds after it. Never will we have a Marley and Me moment of sitting happily on the sand with our best pals, or frolicking in the waves. We can’t even hope for baths that don’t border on torture– the best method being to hose them down in the back yard while one of us holds tightly to their collars.
Now, maybe, since they both came to us at older-than-baby-puppy ages, histories mostly unknown, maybe they had some sort of traumatic past experiences that have soured them on splishing and splashing for life. Maybe they need puppy therapy, or the Dog Whisperer. Or maybe they have rabies! It was once called hydrophobia after all, and Bessie does tend to foam at the mouth when she’s just really happy to be at the dog park! (Try explaining THAT ONE to the mommies and daddies of tiny princess poodles and bouffant bichons and pampered papillons– No, my sweet giant here isnt’ infected with rabies, she’s just happy to see ya!)
And so, I came home from work today and it’s raining. I (having had a difficult time getting the front door open which I can’t figure out) went around to the back yard and opened the gate, when who should come bounding out of our never used doghouse (built by Jon back before the doggie door and the second dog), but Bessie! Now, I’ve never seen that dog in that doghouse except to fetch an errant tennis ball (the one retriever trait they both share is a love of tennis balls). So, my only assumption is, when faced with a sudden torrential downpour, she decided the doghouse was closer than the doggie door and ducked inside. Unless of course she and Olive had some sort of fight and she had to get away from her sister and decided to go hide out in the doghouse in privacy, who knows? Her expression as she ran up to me clearly communicated, “Oh my goodness mama, I’m sooo happy you’re home! Will you please make the awful WET go away? This is terrible!” And of course, my response is, “You cotton headed ninny muggins, YOU HAVE WEBBED TOES, WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?”
Though really, I’m a complete hypocrite in this area as I too hate being wet outside of the shower. I’ve been to Disney World 13 times, and hate hate hate to ride Splash Mountain because there is little worse than walking around looking and feeling like you peed your pants all morning. I refuse to even visit the water parks. I do not want to walk around feeling wet, barefoot, in other people’s germs all day long and don’t even get me started on the icky things I’ve seen floating in wave pools. I live in a beach town and love to go out there every single weekend, but I only get in the water when I’m just too hot to stand it any more, and the MINUTE something living brushes up against me in the water I am outta there for the rest of the day. So maybe I’m the one that needs the Dog Whisperer. Cesar? Are you reading this? I think I need your help!