A Visit to the Lake

For once the weather cooperated and it was a beautiful day (the people at the office ask me to please inform them when I plan to take time off, that way they can avoid those days, since it almost never fails to rain). I took the afternoon off to take the dogs to the lake. The season was almost over and they hadn't been to the lake once, and Frosty, only about 10 months old had never been to the lake.

Once home we got the motorhome loaded, filled it up with dogs, and headed off. Going to the lake is quite an ordeal at our house. For one thing we have to find a secluded spot since dogs are not allowed off-leash. What's the fun if you have to have everyone on leash. Oklahoma in the summer is not an easy time to find such a secluded spot. First stop, Homeland for goodies. What a sight, returning to the motorhome to see a Kuvasz in the drivers seat, another sitting shot-gun, with 3 heads in-between watching for the humans to return. First camping ground, not many people, many secluded spots, no beach! Ok, not much room for motorhome either, as we discovered heading out and a tree tries to remove our roof. Some dogs do not deal well with such awful noises. I spent the rest of that part of the drive with 2 dogs trying to ride in my lap. The second ground has no people and 10 ft cliffs overlooking the lake. This is not looking good. Luckily, in the opposite direction is a boat loading ramp cut into the cliff. Not exactly a beach, but it looks like our only choice unless we wish to spend our day driving around the lake. At least there is a big turn around and we get a really nice place to park.

What a sight we must have made when we opened the door and 5-100 pound dogs come charging out. First dogs out are the Kuvaszok, Christy and Frosty, of course. Next, Shadow, a German Shepherd cross, and then the 2 water loving Goldens, Amber and Rowdy. Of course the Goldens don't even wait for us to get down to the water before diving in. Shadow isn't far behind, although she isn't quite as fond of swimming as the Goldens. This being Frosty's first time to the lake, he isn't quite sure of this. He is very skeptical and leery of this strange place. Christy has been to the lake before and knows how deceiving it is. It's even possible that she has informed Frosty of this deadly place.

Last summer Christy got to go to the lake. We threw a ball out into the lake for the dogs. Christy must have assumed that this was just a very, very shallow pond, as she charged full blast into the lake after the ball. Imagine the shock, to her (and us) when a few feet out she disappeared. Not for long though, because within a nanosecond she was up and airborne ( I never realized that it was physically possible to move a body that far above the water without some form of springboard) and in a shear, blind panic. I don't think I have ever seen a dog flail like she did, she didn't move far, but she exerted enough force to swim at least 100 yards. And she created enough splashing to soak us on shore (well, almost). With a tremendous amount of exertion she finally made it to shore. That was the last time that day that she got any deeper than her pasterns. No matter what we did, she refused to get into water in which she could not easily see her feet.

Frosty, being the bold boy that he is, must have figured if the Goldens can do this, he sure can. Frosty is quite the fish. Surprisingly Christy decided to try swimming again, although much more carefully this time. I have never in my life seen a dog swim the way this girl does. She always flails, all the other dogs trying to avoid her since she creates so much splashing. But that is not the most unusual part, she will somehow get her body out of the water until her shoulders are completely exposed and flail while she slowly sinks. Once the water gets about level with her mouth, she will again raise above the water and slowly sink. Watching this display made me nervous. I would call her back, but she would go right back out to retrieve a ball, and do it all over again. The last time out she almost went under. That was when I put my foot down and called her out to stay. Apparently she realized that she could not swim and was happy to stay in shallow water and not get into water depths in which she had to swim.

Frosty on the other hand was a dynamo. At one point we threw the ball, he went after it, bypassed it and kept going. We watched until I got nervous, then we called. He kept going, we kept calling. He was apparently heading over to the opposite shore (at least there was a beach there) about a quarter of a mile away. Finally, he turned and started back to us, Whew! We went back to trying to find balls that the dogs had discarded. After a moment I looked up, and Frosty had turned back to the other shore and is even farther out. Talk about a panic. With a lot of yelling he finally turned and this time came back. I know dogs are supposed to be good swimmers (and I have to admit, in all my life, I have never seen a dog swim as badly as Christy does) but after watching Christy, I couldn't keep from imagining my boy sinking out in the middle of the cove.

After taking a bit of a break, we let the dogs go back for one more swim. During which, a truckload of people showed up to swim. This, of course, necessitated a charge from all parts of the lake, convincing them people of their eminent demise. Remarkably the strangers did not choose to stay long. Once they realized the dogs were not going to bite them, the went ahead a took a brief swim, looking like a shipwrecked crew being circled by a school of inept furry sharks who were desperate to be petted.

Soon after, the dogs tired of swimming and decided to run the shoreline, all the better to get us to yell and chase after them. Since they don't need a lake for that stunt (one of the pastures will do quite nicely), we decided to head back.

We are now overdue for a return visit, one that may equal the first for unusual reactions. We now have 2 new Kuvasz members, Angel and Dreamer. Angel is such a princess, she may very well insist on an air mattress and sunglasses. Dreamer is the Baby Huey of the bunch. She makes Frosty, old surefoot himself, look like a study in grace and savoir-faire. It requires no stretch to imagine the motorhome door opening for Dreamer to step out but not down, tumbling her way down into the water, then sitting there with her big Golden-influenced grin, awaiting further instructions. Sleep tight tonight, this guard dog does.