Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just Add Water

Dogs and Water. Water and Dogs.

On a scorching summer’s day, it is vital to ensure that the dogs in our pack have plenty of water available. There’s a tap and a bowl on our walking route – that should take care of any thirst, right? Sure unless you’re Dixie and Babooti, who can’t possibly drink out of any bowl another dog may have used. Heavens no. Doesn’t matter how hot it is, we need to make sure we have an alternate method of getting them to drink. Babooti requires her own portable bowl while Dixie, strangely enough, is happy to drink from any water laying around on the ground.

Even in the driest of weather, Centennial Park has water laying about, primarily in the form of a swamp, right smack bang in the middle of where we walk. Most dogs have no interest it unless it’s very hot. The athletes (ball dogs) however, need to run to the swamp in between throws to replenish their fluids and cool their undercarriages. No amount of stern “NO!” will dissuade them. We’ve tried. So on a perfectly fine day there is the odd dog who may well go home muddy. Some people see this as a sign that their dog had a great time. This we encourage. Some don’t. And that’s unfortunate.

Golden and Labrador retrievers will always lie in any puddle of water they can find. It’s in their blood, which incidentally must be like ice, given that they will indulge this passion even in the dead of winter.

Which brings us to the recent torrential rains. Aaah the glamour of dogwalking. When it’s outrageously heavy, most dogs bound out of the car, get struck by the fact that it’s pelting down in the park just like it was in their backyard – who knew? – and quickly turn around and head straight back for the comparative luxury of the dog bus. Most dogs that is. But when it’s bucketing down like that and the majority have quickly come to their senses, you can always guarantee there’ll be at least one waterbaby, standing there in the downpour, tapping their feet, and giving you the “I’ve paid for this” look. A quick negotiation will usually have them back in the vehicle waiting for it to clear with the rest of us.

For the most part though, dogs like a bit of a play in light rain or, even better, immediately after. The smells that come out of the ground seem to be something particularly fascinationg immediately after rain. And the fresh water is such fun to splash through and flop in. After the weekend rains everybody had the best time. Even 10 year old Gordon Setter, Monty, danced like a two year old.

Unfortunately, the biggest fans of pelting through the water and mud at speed are our white fluffies: Jemima, Buttons, and Josie. Design fault. Josie outdid herself on Monday (see pic above) and was forced to suffer the indignity of being publicly bathed under the aforementioned tap. Next we ran her through the long grass to dry her off – theory being it’s a little like those carwash thingies. She returned home looking almost freshly washed. Almost.

All great fun but spare a thought for Dixie and Ruby Watson who both really can’t cope with the rain and its’ after effects. A lady should never have to get her paws wet. Never.

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