Dog Paddling

This is the story of a little dog who learned to be brave.

On April 30th, Kirby was hit by a car. She broke her pelvis in 5 places. Luckily, she was still quite young, and our amazing vets expected her to make a solid recovery. 


Amazingly, she walked hobbled out of the hospital 3 days later. She was sore and slow-moving, but she’d survived. 

Two months later, she was able to run again. And it made her happy.


But she wouldn’t swim. It’s in her blood to be a water-dog, but Kirby would only splash around at the edge of the ocean. We could tell she loved the water–she’d bark and whine and jump around, but she was just too scared to get in. She would run around the sides of the pool, whimpering and begging to be splashed. We put her in the pool, and found out she could swim, but it freaked her out. 


Even though she has webbed paws and is built to retrieve ducks from cold, deep ponds, she still wasn’t convinced that the water was for her. She had a bad case of the chickens. 

I’d even say it was an epic case of the chickens.

So she and I had a heart-to-heart.


And Russ got in the pool with her…a little paw-holding, if you will.


Then she gathered up her courage and went for it.


(Well, to be honest, the gathering part still took awhile.)


It was scary and required lots of courage (and focus) on her part, but she did it. She conquered her fear.


Now she rules the pool. 


She could do this all day long. She swims over to the steps, drops the ball, turns around, and waits for someone to throw it again.


And then she’s off…leaping from the steps like a moderately-graceful gazelle.


Every once in awhile, she’ll stop to catch her breath.


But then she can’t stand it, and before you can turn around (or walk in the house), she’s right back on the steps, waiting for the ball to be thrown.


She is a water-dog now. 

She did something she didn’t think she could do.

She is so incredibly proud of herself (and we are, too).


And now she is very, very happy.


a huge shout-out to the sweetest poet in the land–our friend Jennifer W., a hero to so many 4-legged folks, a mighty fine artist, and one nifty friend. 

Kirbo gives you a paws-up and a tail-wag for the fabulous pink tennis balls

She’s batting her eyelashes at you, too.

P.S. Monster Metaphor Alert: Jack and Tucker are at their first sleep-away camp this week. There’s a little more to this entry than just a brave pup going head-to-head against a fear and winning…


(catch and release, of course 🙂 )

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