Ending on a Pawsitive

(Written from the viewpoint of Hope, my 1 1/2 year old rescued black Lab mix dock diving addict – who always inspires me to end on a pawsitive!)

I was so bored and feeling sorry for myself as I laid on the couch Thursday afternoon in what mommy calls my ‘woe is me’ pose.  Then something weird happened – mommy came out of the bedroom in her workout pants but she had on a heavy sweater so I didn’t think she was going to the gym … maybe we were going walkies early, but why was she wearing boots?  Hmmm, I wonder where’s she going?  And then she asked if I wanted to go.  Go where?  I didn’t care, I was up and at the door ready for whatever adventure awaited!  Mommy leashed me up and then she got my favorite thing in the world – the FUN BAG with all of my diving bumpers and towels!  Oh boy, we’re going swimmies, I thought as I jumped in the car ready to go!

As we drove over the big bridge I knew for sure – we were going to Auntie Sally’s house so I could swim and dive with my bestie, Gracie!  It seemed like forever since I’d been swimmies – mommy doesn’t take me as much when it’s cold out so I’ve been kinda bored lately.  As we got closer to Auntie Sally’s, I sat straight up next to mommy and then I tapped her on the shoulder with my paw – when she said, “yes we’re going swimmies”, I started to do my excited little hum!  We pulled into the driveway and I was ready to go!  But something strange happened – mommy told me to stay in the car.  What is going on???

I watched as she got the fun bag and walked in the gate without me.  Then I saw other cars pull up with dogs that looked a little familiar but I wasn’t sure who they were.  I waited in the car forever – finally mommy came to get me.  She wasn’t too thrilled when she discovered I had chewed my seat belt in half, maybe she shouldn’t have left me in the car so long!  I hopped out and was raring to go … Gracie was in the front yard on a leash with Auntie Sally.  This was a really weird day, usually I just run in the side gate and Gracie meets me at the pool.  And again I wondered, what is going on???

Then I saw Thomas and Duchess (a yellow Labby) and Kaitie and John Snow (a black Labby).  We all stood around with our pawrents, excitement in the air.  I was trying to be calm so I could say hello to the other pups and finally we all got to sniff each other and do our meet and greet.  Then we all went in the yard – but mommy didn’t unleash me like she usually does.  Even more confusing, why did I have this stupid slip lead on to restrain me when all I wanted to do was dive into that glorious water?  What is going on???

Duchess and John Snow went in their crates that were set up in the yard.  Me and Gracie hung out with our mommies, but we were still on leash.  Then I saw a big metal thingy hanging over the pool.  I wasn’t sure what it was but I thought it might have a bumper hanging off it so that’s a good thing.  The pawrents stood around as Auntie Deb (Feller, the president of Palmetto DockDogs) talked about EV –extreme vertical.  I was starting to get bored and was straining on my leash when Thomas let Duchess out of her crate and she went running up to the diving platform that Auntie Sally made for me and Gracie to practice our dock diving.  I was still stuck on my leash trying to see what Duchess was doing.  What is going on???

And then all at once, I heard yelling and clapping and Duchess was sailing off the platform into the air and she grabbed the bumper off the metal thingy right before she splashed into the water!  So pawesome!  I was up on my hind legs, squealing with excitement … I wanted to dive into the pool too!  Duchess did a few more jumps – and each time she grabbed that bumper all of us pups started barking and squealing as we cheered her on!  Then it was Gracie’s turn.  She went up to the platform with Auntie Sally and Auntie Deb was showing her the bumper, as Gracie got more and more excited I finally figured it out … I knew what was going on, we were each going to learn how to do EV.  AND I figured out why mommy had been playing ‘touch’ with me – she taught me how to put my nose on her hand when she said ‘touch’ and then she started holding a toy up in the air and when she yelled ‘touch’ I had to jump up and grab it.  Mommy was getting me ready for EV!

Gracie got a few EV jumps, she didn’t get the bumper at first, she kept trying and then she did it!  After what seemed like hours, it was finally my turn!  I raced up to that platform and mommy was showing me the bumper and saying ‘touch’ … I knew what to do!  Mommy pulled me back as far as we could go and she pointed at the bumper dangling over the pool, when she let me go I went racing down the platform and jumped as I reached for the bumper – but I missed it!  Wow, that bumper is really far away!  I tried again and again … Duchess made this look much easier than it is.  And then it happened, I dove off the platform and grabbed the bumper on my way down into the water – I did it!  What a rush, everyone was clapping and cheering and the pups were all barking … fun, fun, fun!

When it was John Snow’s turn, like Duchess, he made EV look really easy.  Wow, he was jumping so high!  As I watched him I was determined to jump even higher on my next turn.  We spent the rest of the afternoon taking turns practicing EV – I was quivering with anticipation each time I watched the other pups jump.  When I finally got up to take my last jump, I raced down the platform … and then I froze!  My brain was saying JUMP but my body just stopped at the edge of the platform.  Mommy grabbed me really quickly and pulled me back, then she ran down the platform with me as everyone was cheering and mommy yelled ‘touch’ – and again, nothing.  I just screeched to a halt and stood at the edge of the pool squealing!  I was so frustrated, I didn’t know why I wasn’t jumping up for the bumper.  Then I heard mommy ask Auntie Deb, “can Hope do a speed retriever?” I heard Auntie Deb respond, “absolutely, we want her to end of a pawsitive.”  I love speed retrieve – I crouched down with mommy and she pointed to the other end of the pool where Auntie Deb was holding the bumper.  Then mommy said, “get ready, set, GO” and I went flying down the platform and jumped as far as I could, when I splashed into the pool I swam like a little speed demon to get to the other end.  When I got the bumper from Auntie Deb, I jumped up out of the pool, feeling victorious!

As I sat in the car waiting for mommy to say goodbye to everyone, I was thinking about what a fun day it was.   It’s always good to try something new and it’s always important to ‘end on a pawsitive.’  I had forgotten all about freezing at the edge of the pool, all I could remember was that feeling of bliss as I swam towards the bumper!  Now I understand why mommy likes to meditate at the end of the day.  And why we always have snuggle time and a kiss before I drift off to sleep at night.   We always end on a pawsitive.

Dive, Swim, Luv, Hope

Melissa Gray

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