Sunday, September 23, 2007

Just Add Water

On a beautiful September day, Belle, Cody and hundreds of golden retrievers, and their dog and human friends gathered at Snail Lake in Shoreview for the RAGOM Get Your Tail In Gear Fun Run/Walk and Picnic. It was a day for meeting old friends and new, loving and true.

Belle met a fellow Helping Paws friend, Koda with his foster mom, Lynn. Cody had a wonderful reunion with his first foster moms and dad, Jenny, Marie and Jim (Jenny, Marie and Cinder with Cody above). He also saw his brother Ollie for the first time since their rescue. Ollie's folks and I had a great time comparing notes of the brothers new lives with us and found that the two of them share a great many familiar traits.

As the picnic was winding down, I overcame my fear of letting Belle and Cody play in the water. We had watched as dogs and their owners had a great time with the complimentary tennis balls that were provided in our race packs. Finally, Belle and Cody's whimpers and whines and pleading eyes wore me down as ball after ball went sailing over the water with packs of enthusiastic hounds in hot pursuit. I waited until just the die-hards were left still playing. Everyone knows the type - the dogs that would sleep in the water if you'd let them. And then I released just Belle. She took off for the water and never looked back. She chased every tennis ball that was thrown, often with one in her mouth. If one hadn't been thrown in a while, she raced back to me, gave me a ball, and bolted back for the water. She chased the other dogs - their great bounding leaps through the water a blurry mass of wet gold shimmering in the sun. Meanwhile, Cody laid down in sorrow at still being at my side. What could I do? With a prayer I released him and before I could blink he was at Belle's side bounding and splashing and frolicking with all their other golden (and one black) friends.

My fears that they wouldn't return to me were totally unfounded. With some regularity, they raced back to me to be sure I was still there. Thanks to the Pet Chef's wonderful samples of Cat Fish Kibble, their trips back even began to increase in frequency. After forty-five minutes of the time of their lives, they came back one more time and I could tell they were tired. Happy, too! I slipped their gentle leaders on and we headed to the car, shimmying every few steps. Sadly, Belle stopped to squat every few steps, also. By the time we got to the car, she had stopped at least 10 times and had begun to whimper each time. I called Eileen, who, incredibly was able to give me the U's emergency vet number from memory. We stopped at the U on our way home, and an hour later, with Clavamox in hand, we headed for home. As tired as they were, the rest of the night was very quiet. What a great day!
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