Instead of sleeping I am sitting here listening to the dog snore and I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes it’s the little things that signify great big achievements. Last summer I discovered Dock Diving. Or, let’s say, I introduced it to my pup and she became obsessed. Batman is a dutch shepherd pup and she is afraid of exactly nothing. When she was 12 weeks old she leapt off the side of a river into water well above her head and she loved it. When they say that dogs with webbed feet were born to swim they were definitely talking about Batman. So, at 6 months of age, I entered her in a dock diving competition that had come to town. Did I want a “try-it” instead of entering? Nah, it’s Batman; and she did not disappoint. Every jump she made that day was farther than the one before. She was testing her wings.
All of my dogs have been swimming at one time or another in one fashion or another. Most enjoy the lake where they know how far land is and can wade without swimming. All but one is a relatively good swimmer. Armed with this knowledge, I entered three dogs in a try-it. Let me tell you, pools are not lakes! Two of the three were never convinced that I was not out to drown them. Two of the three were absolutely convinced that pools were not meant for dogs!
A few weeks later, I found another competition, this one further north. So, I packed up 6 dogs into two vehicles and made the drive. That day, two dogs jumped. One with great reluctance and only with much coaxing. Four of those dogs were absolutely convinced we had some secret agenda to drown them! But Batman flew each time.
We tried taking her to an indoor dock diving pool but the ceilings were too low and no matter what we tried Batty’s jumps were shorter by nearly 5 feet. We knew then that despite the 6 other reluctant animals, a pool was what was needed in our lives. So, we set out to build her one. 8 months and too many thousands later, K9 Splash Zone was created as the first full-size dock diving pool in the Dayton Ohio area.
Batman got a pool in her backyard and she couldn’t be happier.
Now, I don’t need them to compete, a dog has to be their own dog. But swimming is such great exercise – it forces you to move – if you are not swimming, you are sinking! So, one by one, we brought out a line of dogs and introduced them to the pool. The first day we had a lot of “toes in the water”. Everyone was curious and no one was afraid of the ramp. The dock on the other hand, was a different story, it was evil incarnate! And one by one they all learned the same thing – water is great! Swimming is great! And one by one, all on their own, each on their own time, the dogs discovered the same thing: jumping off the dock got you into the pool faster! So, Batman still flies, Gryphon belly flops, Wiley leaps like Spidey-man, hanging in the air an extra minute or two, Simon is ginger and still uses a vest, Chatter is a speed demon – she literally runs in the water churning it beside her and Tedder launches at random, gaining more confidence as the days go by.