Taking the Leap to Find Your Bliss

NOTE: This post is written from the viewpoint of Hope, my one year old rescued black Lab.

I woke up on Saturday and just knew it was gonna be a great day!   Mommy had my beach bag packed and ready to go with my favorite rubber sharky for retrieving, water bottles and my travel bowl along with a towel.  We were going to the beach, Saturday morning bliss!  But then when my pawrents left Daisy at home I wasn’t so sure, my big sis always comes to the beach with us.  Hmmmm … wonder what’s going on?  Mommy snapped my seatbelt in to secure me in the back seat – kinda bummed me out cuz I like to ride shot gun.  First stop, the yummy place cuz mommy says that daddy has some sort of addiction to something called a latte.  I think that’s a good thing cuz I got a puppuccino! I knew it was gonna be a great day!

And then we were off … but wait, this wasn’t the way to the beach.  Maybe mommy needed to tell daddy how to get there, he seemed lost!  I was trying to nudge mommy’s hand but the darn seat belt was a pain and I couldn’t reach her – why wasn’t she telling daddy that we were going the wrong way?  She’s usually good about pointing out when he makes a mistake!  I could see lots of trees out the window and then I realized I was smelling Lowcountry marsh.

We slowed down and made a turn onto a long curving road and I saw horsies!  They looked so happy, frolicking in the grass, not sad like the ones I see downtown pulling carriages with the lazy hoomans.   Finally, daddy stopped the car and I jumped out ready for an adventure!  As I looked around I saw a big field with lots of trees and a bunch of other dogs and their pawrents.  We walked in the gate and joined them – I was excited and a little anxious to figure out why we were all standing around.  Where was the fun stuff?  The hoomans kept talking, blahblahblah.  And then I spotted it, a big pond!  Woohoo, we were going swimming!

As I was straining on my leash trying to get a better view of the pond, we walked over a little closer and this super pawesome yellow Labby, named Donny, went running down the dock and he flew into the air and dove into the water!  Oh wow, way coooool!!!!  I was so excited I could barely stand still and I started making a high pitch squealing noise!  Mommy told me to settle down and be a good girl (like she had to tell me all the time at agility class), but the nice lady who was in charge told her, “that’s what you want in a dock dog, she’s excited and enthusiastic!”  Wait, what?  Really?  I’m gonna get to be a dock dog?  I got even more excited as I waited for my turn, I just knew I was gonna nail it on the first try!

There were two other ‘newbies’ like me – Annnie Jo and Beacon.  Annie Jo, a beautiful Golden Retriever, got to go first.  I think she might have been nervous cuz she kinda snarked at me when I was looking at her duckie, but that’s ok, I know I can win her over, everyone loves me!  She went down to the end of the dock and her daddy threw duckie in the water, everyone was cheering and clapping and shouting “Go Annie Jo!” … I was getting more excited by the minute!  Annie Jo was too scared to jump in the water, so she ran down the dock and waded into the pond to retrieve her duckie.  Next up was Beacon, a really cute Boykin Spaniel, and he did the same thing as Annie Jo.  I really couldn’t understand why they weren’t jumping in the water – it looked so fun!  Finally, it was my turn!  YES!  I got this!

I almost dragged mommy off her feet while I was trying to get down the dock!  Then mommy backed me up a little and threw my sharky into the water!  I was off running and then I came to a screeching halt … that’s a pretty big jump – it must be like 20 feet or something (mommy said it’s only 2 feet but daddy says she isn’t always good with measuring distances!), the water was so far down below.  I paced back and forth across the dock, leaning over and peering into the water as I screamed with excitement and frustration.  How was I gonna get in that water to retrieve sharky?

And then Donny came to my rescue!  He raced down the dock and whispered, “follow me kid, you’re gonna be fine, just jump” – and I did it!  I sailed off that dock – ok, more like plopped – and landed in the water!  I swam like crazy to get sharky and then I scrambled back up the bank of the pond, ready to do it again!  This was the coolest thing ever and I was hooked!  The next time I jumped off the dock all by myself and I raced back to the dock – mommy said we had to let the others have a turn, so I stood there watching, as I quivered and squealed with anticipation.

Annie Jo had another turn and she was still scared.  I knew what I had to do – she just needed a friend to help her take the leap!  Mommy was having a hard time holding onto my leash and all of a sudden, snap – I pulled so hard that I ripped the ring right off my harness and I was free!  I dashed down the dock to show Annie Jo how to jump in – and splash, I was in the water again!  Annie Jo didn’t follow so I brought her duckie back to her.

The next hour went by in a blur of pure bliss!  I had found my true calling, I was going to be a dock diving dog.  Although to start, I was more of a dock plopper than a dock diver, but at least I was jumping into the water!  This is what I was meant to do – I might not be a purebred Labby, nobody knows who my daddy is but my birth momma is a chocolate Lab and I definitely got her genes.  Mommy signed us up for a membership with Palmetto Dock Dogs and I got to stay and practice with Duchess and Donny.  They’re both super amazing dock divers and I wanna be just like them when I grow up.  I watched them sailing off the dock, they jumped so high!  Then we had play time, mommy threw sharky off the dock and we all jumped in after it – Donny always got it first, but that’s ok, I had fun playing and swimming with my new friends!

I wasn’t ready to go home but mommy promised we’d go dock diving again soon.  She and daddy were talking on the way home and I heard her say we needed a pool – my paws are crossed!  There’s nothing like finding your bliss.  I had fun going to agility class, most of all I loved racing through the tunnels and jumping over the bars, but I also got in trouble – as I didn’t always focus and I just wanted to run around and play.  With dock diving, my unbridled enthusiasm is a good thing and I was never even tempted to run off and do zoomies.  I was so focused on getting back on that dock!   All of us are unique, and we each have our own special gifts and talents.  Keep chasing your dreams – if you don’t take a leap of faith you might miss out on finding your bliss, the one thing that brings you the most joy and makes your heart sing!

Eat, Play, Luv, Hope

Melissa Gray

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