Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Good Day for a Swim

Sunday was the end-of-summer dog-swim at our local pool. I had debated about going since Gregg couldn't get in the water with Ray, and because it had been raining off and on most of the day. But at the last minute, I decided that since Ray always seems to have such a good time at the dog swim, that I, myself, would don a bathing suit and take him. I convinced Gregg to come along and sit on the sidelines and enjoy the show.
We arrived about 10 minutes early and were the first ones there. I was worried that we would be the only ones at the swim because of the weather, but the pool president assured me that he had received "about 9 phone calls in the last few minutes" asking if the swim was still on. The words were no sooner out of his mouth when the dogs with their people started streaming in.
Ray, as always, was excited. I took him around to meet all the dogs as they arrived then waited by the gate for the grand opening. They slipped the chain and lock off of the gate, and Ray dragged me through. Gregg grabbed a chair far enough away from the action to be out of the way of rampaging dogs and milling people but close enough to still enjoy the view.
Ray was quiet until he heard the first splash. Then all hell broke loose.
I think I've mentioned before that Ray has two yells. One is for everyday and announces things of import like, "I'm here! I've just pooped! My family is home! I think someone is having a party! It's morning! It's night! I think a cat just walked through the yard!" and things of that ilk. This yell, if performed inside the house, raises the roof approximately 6 inches.
Ray's other yell, which comes from somewhere deeeeeeeep within, is for things of much, much, much more importance, like "I'm pretty sure a fox is directly on the other side of this fence!" or "I'm pretty sure a raccoon is directly on the other side of this fence!" or "I think I can give this nervous little dog a heart attack if I yell really, really loud!" It is estimated that this yell can raise the roof on the house by 5-6 feet (he has never actually done this one inside).
The minute Ray heard that first splash, he started yelling. Judging by the urgency of the yell, I think it was, "HELP! A raccoon is drowning! HELP! I think a fox is drowning too! HELP!"
From my perspective, pandemonium reigned. (When I was writing this I asked Gregg what people's reactions were to Ray - I was too busy trying to keep Ray under control to notice - and Gregg said 'bemused.' "Amused?" I asked thinking I hadn't heard correctly. "That too," he replied.)
This was Ray's third dog swim. Sandra (my across the street neighbor who was there with Maddie) and I encouraged Ray from within the pool while a bevy of little girls stood alongside Ray and tried to convince him to go in from the side of the pool. After accidently falling in once, Ray decided that he would take a little dip on his own and took the plunge. It was the first time that he has entered the pool of his own free will. I was so proud of my blind hound that I almost cried.


  1. I really envy the facilities you guys have in the US, dog parks and local pools which give dogs a chance for fun, we are so backwards here in the UK, I would love a local dog park where we could let both the greyhounds off the lead, but it would be so fun for Conor to get a bit of freedom. Ray does not know how fortunate he is in so many ways !

  2. Hahahaha, laughed out loud reading this one - wish I'd been there. What, no video???

  3. Niki,
    It's true, the dogpark is a real godsend, especially when Ray was younger and needed TONS of exercise to keep him out of trouble at home. We would stay a couple of hours and Ray would just wear himself out running and wrestling with other dogs. Now that he is three and has settled down a bit, I can get by just walking him a couple miles a day. The side benefit, it keeps me pretty fit and I've made friends all over the neighborhood.

    Y'know, at the last two dog swims our neighbor, Kirsten, was there to take video while Gregg and I monitored Ray's activities. This year Kirsten moved so I didn't have a videographer. I've never edited the video from the previous two dog swims. Maybe I'll try and use those videos to come up with something.

  4. When I read the part about your interpretations of Ray's yell, I had to laugh. I thought that I was the only one who knows what my dog is trying to say to us. My family sarcastically calls me the dog whisperer, but they bow to my wisdom when I correctly translate Dulcy's vocalizations. They just need to practice a little patience and pay attention. Karen (who needs a clever alias to post comments)