Monday, August 06, 2007

I'm Just Here for the Dogs

When I first started up this blog, I made mention of earlier life-saving episodes wherein others un-selfishly stuck their necks out for me, so I think it is only fair that I be called upon once in awhile to give back. Yesterday was one of those days. After taking care of a few "housekeeping" chores (sitting in the overly air conditioned Panera with my husband where we started out with breakfast and finished up with lunch, using the "free" wifi to check out sailboat slips in the Pacific Northwest), we decided a short trip to the lake (10 minutes from our house) would be a fun way to spend the rest of the afternoon. It's not what I would call a "beautiful" lake, but it's fun for those with boats, jet-skis, and other flotsam to keep one entertained or at least afloat in the cool water. We each took a chair, a towel and some reading material for a little warmth and relaxation (better than doing yard work in the 95 degree heat anyway).

So there we sat, minding our own business, randomly watching various groups of kids playing in the "surf" (small kids, small kids in diapers and underwear, kids that should probably not be swimming in murky, muddy bottom lakes without life jackets on, especially when mom and dad appear to be preoccupied with setting ablaze the world's largest pile of charcoal while squirting it with lighter act that in itself qualifies one for a Darwin Award...and let me just say that when you are sitting downwind from this particular ozone violation, the fumes are noxious...wood, people, wood...and kindling...cut it out with the lighter fluid already!). So there we sat, me reading a book on grit, gore and God, my husband reading about our next sailing destination, and each with one eye on the kids who needed watching.

And then it happened. The soccer ball rolled into the water and running right behind was the little dog that could, a little mix of what looked like dachsund and rat terrier...the kind of dog that is so ugly, it's cute. Squeaks of glee came from the little kids as they pointed at the doggie going after the ball. And Dad, up on the hill tending to his blaze, shouted to the only teenager in the group to grab the dog (I assume this is what he was in Spanish and he seemed to get her attention for a minute but then she responded with something I could not understand and went back to playing with her hair). I watched for a minute or two as it seemed the dog was beginning to figure out that he needed to circle the ball if he wanted to get it back to shore, and I thought everything would be okay. But the waves kept pushing the ball further from shore. And of course, the dog was on it. He was not going to let the ball go! So I stood up and told my husband that if they weren't going to do something, I was going in. I called to the girl, asking her how far she planned to let the dog swim out into the lake. She responded that it was too deep for her to swim after him. I looked again at Dad, fully clothed, still up on the hill, ignoring the situation and decided to jump in. By this time, the dog was a good distance offshore and I worried he would get tired and cramp up, or look back at the shore and panic. So the long story short is I jumped in and swam what felt like a long distance across the lake, grabbed the dog and began swimming back to shore with one arm, the other arm holding a squiggling slippery dog (at least he didn't try to wrap all four legs around me, causing the rescue operation to turn into a bigger fiasco). For awhile, I tried keeping the ball in front of him, like a strange game of water polo, but I quickly ran out of energy for that and let the ball to the lily pads at the far end of the lake. For those of you who wish to try this at home, just know that it's harder than it looks. ;-)

Oh, and by the time I got back to shore, Dad was in the water, still fully clothed and reaching out for his little dog, saying "gracias, Senorita." So I guess he did care afterall. Sheesh.

At least this time I was wearing a swimsuit. The last time I had to rescue a dog (my mom's dog tried walking across a creek that began swiftly carrying her out to sea), I was wearing overalls. Thems are hard for swimmin. Just sayin. ;-)

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At 6:43 PM, August 06, 2007, Blogger Eric said...

Good on you!

At 9:09 PM, August 06, 2007, Anonymous Jim said...


Your rock, G. Just thought you should know.

At 9:37 PM, August 06, 2007, Blogger Janie said...

You are awesome, Gwynne.

At 2:37 AM, August 07, 2007, Blogger Rach said...

Great work G!

At 7:02 AM, August 07, 2007, Blogger beth said...

Yay for Gwynne! Hero to dogs everywhere. :) That was really cool of you - though I can't say I'd've expected any less.

At 8:11 AM, August 07, 2007, Blogger DarkoV said...

Medals will most certainly follow! Also, t-shirts with a lot of exclamation marks and Spanish words.

Hey, did the thankful owner invite the two of you over for a free meal?

At 11:32 AM, August 07, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

You guys are too kind! My husband preferred to tease me mercilessly for rushing to the rescue when the dog could have probably swum around the entire lake and been less tired than I was. 8-}

Darko, we were very tempted to walk over and grab a burger, but no, the invitation was not extended. Instead, we went home and barbequed (on a righteous wood fired smoker) a hunk of the precious lamb "we" so mercilessly butchered last spring. ;-)

At 10:06 PM, August 08, 2007, Blogger Emma Sometimes said...

Oh, the thought of that poor doggy going out to sea with his ball...good for you.

Tell me now, does your swimsuit have a big 'S' on it?

At 7:16 AM, August 17, 2007, Blogger Foo said...

It's been a very long time since I stuck a toe in any lake, but your account made me feel like I was there. The entire scene, down to the teenaged hair twiddling and the native tongue of the supporting cast, played out like a typical Texas day.

All I can say is, "People is stupid and gettin' stupider all the time."

Meanwhile, my lovely bride has taken up cat rescuing. Thank God she didn't have to swim to do it...

At 11:48 AM, August 17, 2007, Blogger mis_nomer said...

You're my hero... Seriously.

That near death experience of yours in the ocean is so so so scary.. I think if I were you I would be deathly afraid of the ocean, but you're not. That's amazing.


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