We’re lucky enough to live near one of several large lakes built as reservoirs. This gives us easy access to beat the southern summer heat while exercising the dogs.
Last summer, we went to the beach several times a week. By beach, I mean a small strip of sand on the lake where high school and college students sunbathe, kids learn to swim, and all the dogs have a blast.
When we brought home Moca in June, Gambit had just learned to swim and it was a struggle. Prior to his first birthday, he was slim and lanky, with hardly a bit of fat on his body. He had to work hard to stay above the water while still moving forward, and seemed pretty sure he was going to sink.
At some point, I finally started taking him out into the lake on a six-foot leash. We’d go in shoulder deep at most, and I’d get him to swim in circles around me. When he started struggling, he’d come back to me and I’d hold him for a minute, then send him swimming again. He quickly learned that if he was having too much difficulty, his momma would save him. Eventually, he was willing to swim without me so long as he could still touch the bottom of the lake, or sometimes a bit further for a stick.
Moca, however, was born a water dog. The first time she went to the lake, she got right in the water and swam effortlessly. She’d swim after a stick as far as it could be thrown.
Occasionally she’d lose sight a stick thrown next to the end of the dock, and swimmers would point her in the right direction or throw it so she’d spot it. It wasn’t unusual to see groups in the water or sitting on the dock watch just how well Moca could truck through the water.
Due to Moca’s friendly nature, we did have to ask children not to go up to her while she was swimming. The first kid who did that got dunked as a gentle but swimming Moca tried to return the child’s greeting. She was well suited for kids on land, but didn’t realize she couldn’t swim straight up to them with paws extended or lean in to have her back scratched while in the water.
For the entire summer, Moca had a blast at the lake.