The dog days of summer took on a moist meaning earlier this month at the Norfolk YMCA. The swimming pool was due for its annual complete cleaning and maintenance needs. Prior to draining the pool, many times the YMCA invites families to bring their dogs to the swimming pool for the “Dog Paddle” event.
Other than supervision by staff and lifeguards, this is a free-for-all, almost anything goes affair. To the casual observer, this is a time of hilarity combined with friendly playfulness between canine and human creatures.
I arrived early enough when there were only three dogs and half-a-dozen people were in the pool. Two of the dogs belonged in the same human family, so it was touching to watch a game of catch take place. That there were two dogs and only one old baseball made for some competition between the dogs. The terrier lorded over the retriever everytime. The other dog was paired with a middle aged man. Their closeness was clearly evident they were certainly a familiar team. The playfulness and affection were contagious.
After half-an-hour, more dogs and their humans arrived. It was interesting that most dogs seemed eager to jump into the pool to swim. There were a few others who needed a lot of coaxing to get into the water.
There were some who were averse to the warm water. I’m guessing that breeding had something to do with that. Each time I saw a hound like a beagle or in the case of the lone husky, those dogs preferred to sit poolside after a dunking. I think that, in particular, the husky being bred for arctic conditions, made him yearn for cold water.
The tendency of dogs to stick with the pack was apparent. There was very little interplay between dogs from different families. Interestingly, I saw absolutely no hostility between them either. The only competitiveness was shown between dogs living with the same family.
I think I learned something more about people and their animals or perhaps between animals and their people. Mainly that the mutual affection between the species is wonderful to witness.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes this quotation. “Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” – Ann Landers