Swimming Setter

Summer had arrived and Chase was curious about the pool. It took some coaxing and massive amounts of trust on the dog's part, but he finally believed that there were actual steps at the shallow end of the pool that he could stand on safely. From there he would swim in a small semi-circle in order to briefly launch himself into the water and quickly back to the relative comfort zone of the steps. It wasn't long before he ventured further into the pool and for longer periods of time, swimming laps around his family members. After he became at ease with the pool, he would jump in without hesitation to retrieve objects that were floating. Chase would swim toward the object with his mouth wide open, snapping up tasty bugs along the way. Unfortunately, the floating "objects" also extended to people swimming in the pool. Chase would dog-paddle over to the closest person, gently take an arm into his mouth and tow the hapless victim back to the steps. He was tireless in his determination to rescue every single swimmer in the pool.

Outside of the pool, Chase was very energetic and playful. He did not care to play with any of the expensive dog toys that we purchased from the pet store. Instead, he focused on empty plastic flower pots - the kind that you discard after planting your flowers in the garden. He was especially fond of the pots that would get stuck on his head. He would run through the pool area tossing his potted head back and forth in the air. If he chose to rest for a moment, the mere words, "I'm going to get your pot" would have him up on his feet to race off with the treasured pot in his mouth.

Throw a pot in the pool and he would dive in immediately to retrieve it. He also liked to dip his pots in the pool and then coat it with a nice layer of dirt from the garden. The pool robot worked overtime to keep the water sparkling. Chase would deposit crushed pots into the deep end of the pool and watch them slowly sink to the bottom.

Another favorite game he enjoyed was to sprint from one end of the chain link fence to the other end with a pot gripped between his teeth. Because of his speed, he would typically stumble, roll and crash into the fence at the end of his journey. Chase began to steal cushions from the outdoor furniture and strategically place them at the fence so that he would have a softer landing pad.

The pool, I discovered, was a fantastic place to give a dog a bath. My father frowned upon my dog washing techniques as he felt it was damaging to the pool filter. My method was quick and efficient: toss the dog into the deep end of the pool. Wait at the shallow end and nab the dog as he climbed out. Lather dog with shampoo. Toss the dog back into the deep end of the pool for a rinse. Repeat if necessary. I found that if I was swift, the dog would be clean before my father knew what I had done. The only difficulty was that Chase would avoid me if he saw a bottle of shampoo. He could be pretty clever sometimes.

The joys of being a dog in the summertime: frolicking in the pool, rolling in the garden, chasing after butterflies and playing imaginary games. I began to look at things from Chase's point of view. All this from simply watching a small white dog on his daily poolside adventures.