Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Water Doggie

The Rolling Peke had a play date last week. We finally got together with some old friends and their Big Doggies: a 150 lb. Bernese Mountain Dog and a 180 lb. rescued Great Dane. The Rolling Peke, who by now can actually walk quite well (though the wheelchair still comes in handy for long walks and certain excretory functions) quickly put them in their place, as they then proceeded to have a wonderful time together. The Dane kept sniffing her as if to say, "You smell like a dog, but you're so small!"

The other new addition to our friends' household since our last visit two summers ago was a swimming pool; and what a gorgeous pool it was. A large, shallow "sun deck" area at one end to enter gradually, a "swim-up bar" seating area with a table in the middle, and two other bump-out areas at the far end for seating, complete with steps (instead of ladders) for climbing out. (For those familiar with pool shapes, there's your basic kidney-shaped pool, as well as something called a "ruptured kidney," referring to a pool with a single bump-out seat on the convex edge. I looked at my friend's pool with all its assorted bump-outs and said, "Holy cow! A polycystic kidney pool!")

But it felt great to get in it on a really hot afternoon.

The Rolling Peke began running around the edge as Darling Spouse and I went swimming, trying to stay as close to us as she could, and getting a little frantic when we got too far away. I was afraid she might fall in, though she never did.

But our hostess and Darling Spouse suggested to me that she might like to come into the water. Why not? I thought. So I climbed out and picked her up, then slowly re-entered the pool, holding her close so I could instantly feel (and soothe) any trembling or other sign of fear. Much to my surprise, she was fine!

I held her a little away from me, and lo and behold, she started making doggie-paddling motions with her front legs. I held her out to DS and she began swimming over. I didn't have the nerve to let go of her completely at first, but we quickly realized that she really could swim! All by herself!! She swam 4-5 feet back and forth between us, perfectly content. I'm sure it was fabulous physical therapy for her weakened back legs. Never in our wildest dreams would we have thought the Rolling Peke would enjoy swimming. We stopped after awhile; probably sooner than she needed to -- and I just sat in the pool holding her in my arms, her body nice and cool but with her head comfortably supported above the water.

When we finally got out, she did bear more than a passing resemblance to a drowned rat, but a brisk towelling-off and lying around for awhile, plus a few shakes, and she was dry and fluffy again in about an hour.

Who'd have thought our little puppy was such a water doggie!


At Fri Jul 25, 09:25:00 PM, Blogger rlbates said...

Now that you know she's a water dog, you'll have to take her for regular "water aerobics". Don't you wish you could shake like our dogs do? It looks like such fun to me.

At Fri Jul 25, 09:46:00 PM, Blogger CrankyProf said...

There's a place in Pottstown that has heated "therapy pools" for dogs to swim in -- we took 'Brina a few tomes when her hips were really bad.

At Sat Jul 26, 07:18:00 AM, Blogger Evil Transport Lady said...

She probably loved the effort it took to swim, no strain and all the fun of free movement:) Plus the added bonus of cooling off:)

You are a great human:)

At Sat Jul 26, 08:54:00 AM, Blogger Can'tSpell, DVM said...

Swimming is great therapy for dogs with peretic or paralyzed rear legs. We had a heated therapy pool at school all of our back dogs would get to use once recovering from surgery.

At Sat Jul 26, 01:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comment from DS..

The real suprise was seeing Rolling Peke's reaction to water. No fear, no upset, just happy pup swimming between the three of us in the pool at the time. You would have thought she had been swimming her entire life.

This is in sharp contast to a scene observed a year ago or so at Dino's folks. One of Dino's nieces took her dog into the pool. The clearly unhappy pup couldn't get out soon enough.

At Tue Jul 29, 03:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


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