When we first adopted our precious Dakota, he, like many shelter dogs, had a few “quirks.” He was terrified of all toys, of anyone touching his butt, and water. Over the last two years, he has gradually conquered the first two fears.
Yesterday, as we drove through rural, beautiful Vermont, we happened upon a swimming hole beneath an old covered bridge. Very picturesque. There were about a dozen people swimming and half a dozen dogs. The water was crystal clear and shallow enough that we could stand. We decided that it was time for Dakota to conquer his last remaining fear.
My husband and I stood in ankle-deep water, coaxing him in. He paced back and forth and whined a bit for a couple minutes. Then, we saw a stick floating nearby. Kota is obsessed with sticks. With some more gentle coaxing and stick waving, Dakota carefully made his way into the water. For a few minutes, he just stood there chest-deep with a look of relief on his face. (It was 91 degrees and humid…I’m sure the water felt awesome.)
Surprised that he made it this far, we (fully clothed, but we didn’t care) went waist-deep and called him. Then, after flopping his legs in the water a couple times and presumably discovering that his paws are webbed, Dakota hopped in and starting swimming - upstream mind you. It wasn’t the most graceful thing you’ve ever seen, but he was swimming. And when we stopped after about a half hour of swimming lessons, his tail was wagging underwater.