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Sunday, June 5, 2011

FLD Gus Learns to Swim

The early morning stillness of Grousehaven Lake is Zamboni-smooth.  Gypsy barks her way through the ice-like surface, keen on the cock of my arm as I ready to throw a stick.  She twirls before I set the stick free, bounding somehow, always, crazily, intuitively in the direction of the inevitable splash.

Gus leaps close behind, but freezes when his belly breaks the surface.

Come on, Gus, I call and wade in after Gypsy.  The clear water isn't as cold as ice, but almost.  Guess I'll think of it as icing my legs after our mile-and-a-half jaunt through the woods to get here.  The bottom is sandy and leads to deeper water in a gentle descent.  When Gus loses footing, I support him so he is swimming.

Gypsy speedboats by us toward shore, her gay tail whipping side to side like a rudder, clenching her stick and snorting water from her nose.  When Gus turns to follow, I let him go and he drops under.  Monster-Lab paws* batter the surface and then his head is airborne like a submarine that dropped ballast.  I buoy him up until he calms into a crawl and this time when I let go he finds the bottom. 

Now Gypsy and Gus are like brown and black porpoises as they curl their bodies to launch their back paws out of the water and splash back in, over and over until they regain shore.

Gypsy shakes herself off at water's edge, stick twirling like a propeller between her teeth.  Unwilling to have my fingers nipped off, I tell her, Drop!  I have to act fast--Gus dives in almost before the stick hits the sand.

I let fly the stick.  Gypsy blasts off into the water with Gus hot on her tail.  He falters at the point of swimming, but I catch up to keep him afloat.  Suddenly he GETS IT.  I take my hands away. 

Gus is SWIMMING--a controlled, Lap-paddle heading out to where Gypsy nabs the stick.  He turns back to shore when she does, but as they pass me by, he circles round as if to show off his newfound skill.

Good boy, Gus!  You learned to swim!

FLD Gus first swam on Saturday.  Sunday evening we took Andy back with us to Grousehaven to show what Gus had learned.  These pictures were taken on Sunday, when Gus readily swam after Gypsy--and came with me into deeper water, too!

FLD Gus heads right into the water.

And takes off after Gypsy!

Here's Gus swimming in the deep water with me.

"Yahoo!  Swimming is great!"

*"Monster-Lab paws" I stole from my niece, Sofia.  She wrote a poem about FLD Gus and his "monster paws."  Look for her poem to be posted soon!

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