A harbinger of things to come?

Only one of our previous CCI puppies has been wild about swimming. That was Darby who, when she was little, stared at the water in her bowl in fascination and pawed at it. Before long she discovered the joys of paddling around in our pool. Despite their water-dog heritage, though, most of our other CCI pups have actively avoided getting wet. I’m not sure how Dilly will turn out.

He has slipped and partially fallen into the pool a few times, but that doesn’t appear to have freaked him out. At the same time, he’s never tried to walk down the steps into the water. But it hasn’t been swimming weather, and he’s never seen Steve or me (or any canines) swimming.

So I was startled by what he did Monday morning. We’d been invited to a little play session with Emmett, the pure-bred white Lab he played with last week. This time we met at the home of Emmett and his puppy-raiser, Mary Milton. Joining us was another even younger CCI puppy who also lives in the neighborhood, a feisty black three-month-old male named Corduroy.

The three guys seemed wildly happy to romp together.

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Their sizes are so different now, but that will quickly change.

They explored the great puppy play toys in the yard: a long fabric tunnel, a little raised bed…and a little blue plastic pool filled with a few inches of water. To my astonishment, Dilly stepped right into it. IMG_7108

He sniffed it a bit, then plopped down. IMG_7109

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Is that surprise on his face?  I can’t quite read the expression.

He seemed content to rest there for a moment, then he got out and played some more. But he returned to the water once or twice.

It wasn’t a hot day, though Dilly seems a bit more sensitive to heat than some of the pups we’ve raised. Steve and I speculate that maybe all his fur makes him warm. This experience makes us wonder if, come the true heat of summer, he won’t discover the pleasures of cooling off in deeper water. It will be fun to find out.

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THIS looks like one happy fellow to me.

Pool party pooper

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Beverly and I went to a dedicated doggy pool party this morning at the home of the folks who are raising Florentine. As usual, Beverly declined to join in any of the aquatic activity — even though every one of the other 8 or 9 CCI puppies who attended swam. Some retrieved balls thrown into the water. Some made breathtaking leaps from the sides. But not Beverly. She clearly sees and understands that the other kids are enjoying the water. But it’s as if she just shrugs and thinks, “Eh. Not for me.”

I have no idea why not, except that I can say this is not uncommon. Only one of our six CCI pups has loved swimming; that was Darby (who clued us in to her passion by pawing the water in her bowl when she was just a few months old.) Many of the dogs fell into our pool by accident when they were small, and we used to speculate that maybe it traumatized them. As far as I know, however, that never happened to Beverly. She simply has little interest in swimming.

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Hanging out with the other puppy-raisers this morning, I heard stories from several of them about how they had worked to get their dogs to be comfortable in the water. Steve and I have never put any effort into that, partly because CCI has never signaled it’s something we should be doing. Also, Steve hates the idea of having to clean dog hair from the pool filter.

And it’s not as if Beverly can’t have fun at pool parties. She greatly enjoyed this morning’s gathering because all the other dogs weren’t in the pool the whole time. She chased and wrestled with the ones who periodically got out.

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That’s Beverly on the right, frolicking with one of her clones.

After about 45 minutes, this tired her out so much that she lounged, poolside. That’s part of what you’re supposed to do at pool parties, isn’t it?

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Arrr!!! Another landlubber!

Kyndall is the only one of our 6 CCI puppies who has not once fallen in our swimming pool. All the others did so within a week or two of their arrival (with Dionne taking the prize by doing it on the first day). We’ve wondered if this early traumatic experience in part explained why 4 out 5 of Kyndall’s predecessors wouldn’t swim. (Darby was the one exception.) But our experience this afternoon seems to smash that theory.

Because several of the dogs in the San Diego class will be going off to Advanced Training in May, 9-time puppy raisers Mike and Kathy Bennett announced they would be holding a matriculation pool party and potluck at their home in Jamul. Apparently, they’ve done this several times before, but somehow we always missed it. This time, however, I pledged to attend with both Kyndall and Tucker (generously, “change of career” dogs were welcomed too).

If ever there was a place to launch one’s swimming career, it would have to be the Bennetts’ huge disappearing-edge pool, equipped with a large shallow entry ledge.

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Some of the dogs recognized a good thing when they saw it. But Kyndall barely glanced at it. Admittedly, there was plenty of other activity to distract her, including her favorite game in the universe….

041215 pool party1Played sometimes as a menage a trois….

041215 pool party3…and sometimes one on one. There were lots of willing partners in that other perennial puppy-pleaser:

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Bite the Other Guy’s Face!

For the humans, the potluck resulted in an amazing display of mostly Mexican-themed food, and I noted with pride that not one of the two dozen or so dogs attempted to raid the tables on which it was arrayed. One puppy-raiser even brought a platter of “pup-cakes” (approved for canine consumption). Tucker and Kyndall each gobbled one.

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By the time the dogs were arranged for a group photo, Tucker’s paws were literally raw from all the unaccustomed running around. He was glad to plop down, first for the photo (Tuck’s the one on the far right)…

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…and then in our car kennel.

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As for Kyndall, she was as tired as she looks here. But I think she’d be thrilled to go back tomorrow and do it again. As long as she wasn’t expected to get in that (ugh) water.