Saturday, January 23, 2010

Water Dog

One of Sage's and my favorite things is our daily trip to Research Park. This park is a Labrador Retriever's paradise. Let me paint the picture for you: 350 acres of green grass, 3 ponds, 23 ducks, 1 annoying goose, lots of dog friends, and always 1 slobbery tennis ball. What could be better? During our normal routine of Sage jumping into every body of water in sight (large or small), I was reminded of a concern I had when she was 4 or 5 months old. Growing up with and around labs all my life, I had this picture of what a lab is supposed to do. One of these things is retrieve. When I was young, I remember throwing a tennis ball off the dock at our beach house into the water and Rita, our black lab, would run down the dock as fast as she could leaping into the air and landing with a splash into the water. It was the coolest thing to see her soaring through the air. For Sage, I had even higher hopes. However, this is what I ended up with...(Notice Sage's back legs don't even leave the dock until the majority of her body is in the water!) Sage wasn't really into soaring through the air, but rather entering the water with the greatest of ease without any splash at all. I don't even think her head ever got wet! No matter how hard I tried, I could not get Sage to jump into the water. Additionally, if I tried to get her to jump off a dock (or anything higher than 6 inches) she would whine, run back and forth, jump up and down, and curl her paws over the edge with her butt up in the air pretending she was coming in after the ball! I had just about finished mourning the champion dog jumper Sage could have been when something miraculous happened. It was August and I had just moved up to College Station. Sage had just turned 6 months old and it was our very first trip to Research Park. It was a beautiful morning (approximately 7:15 a.m.) and I tossed a brand new Wilson tennis ball into the pond. After I gave Sage the O.K., she took off toward the water. As she was racing toward the water, I wondered how she would stop before she got to the water's edge. I had this mental picture of her sliding to a stop on her face and stopping with her nose inches from the water. But instead of carefully sliding into the water as she normally did, she leaped into the air! And just like that she was hooked. Gone forever were her timid water ways. Next time a dog was racing down the dock at the beach house, it was Sage: my water dog.

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