With the heat wave that we just can’t shake, there hasn’t been much in the way of travel. I just can’t bring myself to pack the dogs in the car to go somewhere too hot to explore. So we’ve been taking it easy at home.
There’s a stream that runs through an open field near home. I like to take the dogs there after a run so I can stand in the river and cool my legs and they get to swim to cool off. My dogs obviously didn’t the the memo that boxers, boston terriers, and pugs don’t like water because these guys won’t stay out of water, especially Jack. The funny thing about that is that when I first got him he did not want to be anywhere close to water. He would try to drink while standing as far from the water as he could. Finally one really hot day, I picked him up, held in water just deep enough that he couldn’t touch the bottom, and waited until his thrashing settled into a dog paddle before I let him go to shore. After that he was a bona fide water dog.
Now before I go on, I want to stress something: my dogs are good dogs. They are well-mannered, have zero food aggression, and usually come when called. There is a teeny tiny percentage when they ignore me. And by they, I mean Jack. Sometimes his stubborn puggy brain shuts off. As he did the other day.
We were walking to the river when a friend called my phone. We chatted as I waded into the water and I watched as Jack disappeared into the thick stands of grass on the shore as he usually does. I called and then called again and he did not appear. I paused listening for the tags on his collar but nothing. Crap.
I hung up on my friend and started calling, becoming more insistent with each passing moment. Finally I decided to try and track him down and eyed the bank. We have stinging nettle and it grows THICK on the banks. For anyone that hasn’t had the dubious pleasure of stinging nettle, you’re lucky. Just brushing against the leaves will raise burning welts on your skin that easily last an hour. I know a few ways to lessen the effects but I still try to avoid these plants.
I was able to find a path through the grass and climbed my way over fallen trees and branches then pushed my way through thick underbrush, all the while calling for my little miscreant. I decided to go back to the river, knowing how he is drawn to it. I crash through the dead branches again then step into the river. I found a silty patch and my left leg sank up almost to the knee and when I braced myself on the bank and pulled up my foot, I was without a sandal.
So now I had to dig around in mud the consistency of pudding with my arm buried up to the shoulder as I rooted around for my missing sandal. I finally pulled up a massive clump of muddy reeds along with my sandal. After slogging through the mud, I was able to wash off my footwear before weighing the options about how to best track down Jack.
I walked back to the beach where we had entered the river but no Jack. So I decided to go a bit further back downriver. And there, peeking out at my from the grass was Jack. He just looked at me with that “What?” expression. I was so relieved I almost forgot how scared I was. Needless to say, our swimming time has been curtailed lately. Although I do wonder what he was after…