As I mentioned last month, I discovered I couldn't swim anymore because my right leg would suddenly freeze up once I couldn't touch the lake bottom, and then I would sink. Mommy ordered me an EzyDog Doggy Flotation Device from Backcountry K9. This vest is a bit old fashioned. If you look at it compared to the newer models it seems much bulkier, not as form fitting, but it had a longer back than the other vests and, since Mommy wanted to give me as much support in my hind end as possible, she chose this one. She ordered it on the 2nd of July and less than an hour after she ordered it she got an e-mail saying it had been shipped! We got it on the 5th of July which we considered AMAZING because of the holiday being in the middle. I tried it out a couple days later and it worked GREAT!! I was a little scared when Mommy told me we were going to swim and when my back legs left the sand I panicked a little, but Mommy kept me in the deep water and I quickly realized that I wasn't sinking! Then we took our swim out to the sand bar and it was a little harder than normal because I was swimming with only three legs, but when we turned around to head back to shore my right leg suddenly started paddling! Mommy and I were both very excited when we got back to shore and we went to Tastee Freeze to get a celebratory PupCup.
Me in my life vest after our test swim
Mommy found it very awkward trying to carry the vest to the lake (we walk about 3 blocks to get to the swimming spot) so Mommy decided that what the vest needed was a carrying case. She dug around in the closets and came out with her stuff sack for her bedroll from way back in her vagabond days. Then she found a strap for a broken gym bag and some old key chains and VOILA! she made a carrying case for the vest. She even put a poop bag holder on it so that we wouldn't have to worry about being caught short.
See, the whole vest fits in the case!
We took another swim a few days later and my right leg remembered how to work right away this time. I swam to the sandbar a couple times and swam along it too for a bit. It was wonderful! Then Sunday we went back to swim and this time when I swimming out to the sandbar with Mommy I noticed that a neighbor was swimming in the lake too so I decided I needed to swim out to her and show her my new vest. Mommy had stopped at the sandbar and was surprised when I just kept going. Mommy called out to the neighbor that I was trying to catch up and the neighbor stopped her swim so I could say hi. We talked for a bit and then I swam back to shore. Mommy figures I swam about a 1/4 mile (round trip) with some treading water in the middle so she thought I'd be very tired and want to go home, but I didn't. I stayed in the water at a level where my feet were just touching the ground and walked around and relaxed, and at one point I realized I could go out into deeper water and not have to paddle so I did and I just hung in my vest and relaxed in the cool water. It was great. When we were done I wanted to go get a PupCup but Mommy said no because she didn't want me to try to walk 1 1/2 miles after all that swimming. I pouted so she said she'd make me a homemade one and I agreed to go home.
Last night, because it was so hot out, Mommy decided to take me for a sunset swim. She figured with my long Sunday swim I would probably just wade or maybe hang in the vest like before, but when we got to the lake I found a stick and brought it to Mommy to throw. She helped me into the lake and then threw the stick and I swam out for it and brought it back five times. Mommy stopped me then because she was afraid I'd overdo it. So we both just lounged in the water until the sun was almost set and then we went home and I got another homemade PupCup and Mommy went into our storage area and pulled out my Dead Ducky. She had stored it last year when I stopped wanting to play fetch and insisted on only swimming out to the sandbar with her. She hung Dead Ducky by the back door so she'd remember to take it the next time we went swimming. Next time was this morning because it was still really hot. This time Mommy brought her camera so she could take pictures of me in action. I fetched Dead Ducky 8 times and then I decided I just wanted to wade a bit.
Me fetching Dead Ducky
Mommy figured we were done for the day and then a golden retriever came by riding on a surf board. It is bad enough that golden retrievers think they are so golden, but to be taken around the lake like an Egyptian pharaoh was just too much for me. I immediately started swimming out towards that golden retriever with the intention of biting him, or at least capsizing his board. Mommy was shocked and had to dive in and go after me even though she wasn't planning on swimming herself this morning. Mommy caught up with me before I could catch up with that dog and she grabbed the handle of my vest and made me turn around and go back to shore. She said that other dogs get to use the lake, but really, do you call that USING the lake?
You can just see he thinks he's something else, can't you?
Mommy said that since she was wet anyway she'd do some swimming so she swam out to the sandbar and down the shore a bit. I didn't go out to the sand bar, but I did follow her along the shore for a bit. She didn't want to swim too far away because she wanted to be able to keep her eye on the camera.
Having a post swim stick chew before walking home.
All in all I just have to say I LOVE MY NEW LIFE VEST!!! Mommy says she feels we have already gotten our money's worth out of it too since it makes me so happy and lets me act like my much younger self. So, if any of you dogs out there are getting up in years and are having trouble swimming we highly recommend getting a life vest.