Pluto was an extremely energetic dog, and required a lot of exercise. He was passionate about fetching a ball (or any other dog’s ball), and about swimming. Not long after we moved to Seattle, we took him to a dog park for the first time. Pluto ran and leaped and barked. We threw the ball for him for a while, but found he was easily distracted with so many people and dogs to meet.
We made our way to the river, which is accessed from the park in a series of small, steep, rocky beaches. Pluto had never seen open water before, and immediately bounded in. This river is not particularly deep, but can be fast moving, especially in the spring. In his excitement, he found himself in moving water over his head. From shore, I could almost see his instincts kick in. His front paws began to paddle rhythmically, and soon his expression changed from panic to real pleasure. Almost immediately he grew confident, and began thrusting his front legs out of the water in huge, circular strokes, generating a lot of splash and not really moving him in any direction very fast.
A man standing nearby with his own dog in the water turned to me. “Is that your dog?” he asked.
I was laughing so hard I could barely answer him. He began to laugh, too. Another passing dog owner joined us, and we all stood, strangers on a river bank, laughing at the most ridiculous dog-paddle any of us had ever seen.