Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sparkey to the Rescue!

Sparks, circa Summer 2005

We took the dogs to our local swimming hole---a very small river about 30 feet across and 6-feet deep--where we've spent summers for the last five years. Although we've refrained from taking the dogs there this summer for various reasons (Sparkey's health, his difficulty negotiating the sandy bank, etc) we decided to give them a treat after they spent a 100-degree day in our home with the windows and shades drawn against the relentless swelter as we toiled in the hot city some 21 miles away.

They seemed to enjoy the five-minute car-ride, and Sparkey jauntily made his way to "the creek", as we call it, hesitating when he made it to the bridge with three big wooden steps. I hoisted his hindquarters as he stepped with his front legs, and we managed the bridge with ease. Mary and I jumped into the cool water to escape the mosquitos, and Sparkey and Tina poked around in this familiar haunt, a baby's shoes and some bottles littering the tiny beach.

Suddenly, Mary let out a blood-curdling scream, thinking that the resident eel had wrapped itself around her leg. (It was actually the strap of her sandal which she wore for swimming!) Apparently actually hearing Mary's cry of alarm, Sparkey hobbled down the sandy bank, plunged gingerly but determinedly into the water, and swam the fifteen feet towards Mary as if to say, "I'm here, Momma! Never fear!"

We looked at each other, realizing simultaneously that he had reacted in a protective manner (renal failure and arthritis be damned!) and took to the water in response to Mary's impassioned distress. Mind you, this was his first full swim of the year---complete body in the water, paws furiously paddling doggie-style. He must have enjoyed the weightlessness. He stayed in the water as we swam up to him, praising him loudly and offering our wet faces for a smattering of Sparkey's Special Halitosis Kisses. Joy.



Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story! Give that hound a hug from me.


melissa said...

Best example of the Spark in full force... still in my thoughts always.