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Monday, July 20, 2009

Lulu the Water Dog

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Teaching your dog to swim is much like teaching a child--only faster. You start with gentle coaxing and prodding and before you know it your little pooch is jumping in the water whether you want her to or not.

Before Lulu had her "lessons" she was afraid of the water (and she is a supposed water dog--known for duck hunting). Initially we thought it would be a good idea to have her "learn" to swim--or at least teach her how to get out of the pool in case she fell in. Aside from the doggy safety factor, we also thought it would be just plain fun to have her join us for a dip. The kids REALLY wanted her to swim with them. They would try and call her to the crystal waters, but all Lulu would do was run around the side barking and wagging her tail. You could tell she really wanted to join in on the fun but that she just wasn't ready to take the plunge.

Fast forward a few weeks and our cuddly canine has moved from gingerly dipping a paw into the water to jumping in with doggy glee. The kids are thrilled and love having her join them for an afternoon swim. I, on the other hand, am not so sure this was such a great idea.

First of all, Lulu is turning into a rasta dog. She looks like she is ready for a trip to Jamaica. Who knew that these daily swims would take such a toll on her once fine, silky, fur? Each day I am finding a patch of matted down fur. At first I thought she had some kind of cyst growing behind her ear but then my husband reassured me that it was just the beginning of a major dreadlock. Thankfully, my husband doesn't seem to mind using my daughter's detangling spray and working through Lulu's major rat's nests. No More Tears seems to do the trick on kids and man's best friend.

In addition to her new do, we are now finding shimmering hairs floating on top of the water. Ew....gross!! I think she loses more hair swimming than she does lounging around our house. Our pool sweep is just full of hair. Maybe we need to give her a good brushing before she does her daily dive?

And although it is awfully cute to see her dog paddling around with the kids, I do find it a bit nerve racking. She gets so excited and wants to follow the children wherever they go in the pool. Her stroke is better and stronger than the kids and she literally swims on top of them. They don't seem to mind the fact that she is scratching them up while licking their faces as they are treading water--but I do. I've been blowing the whistle frequently and having Lulu take a time out.

I guess I do have to look on the bright side of having our canine companion join us in the pool. Lulu is getting great exercise and the kids are swimming more and watching tv less. It really isn't so bad to have to deal with knotted fur, floating hairs, and scratched up torsos. At the end of the day, everyone seems to be happy and dog tired!

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