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When Jack was younger he insisted on retrieving whenever I got home. He would repeatedly drop the ball and pick it up, or try to put the ball in my hand while waiting for me to go outside with him. Until the day it was well over one hundred. He raced out the door after the ball, felt the heat, picked up the ball, walked briskly back past me on the porch to the door and waited to go back inside. Now.

Retrieving heats Jack up and he enjoys cooling off by a quick swim in the above ground pool. Jack has swum in the above ground pool every month since we opened the pool back up in May 2006. The coldest water he had been in has been 43 degrees F. Not all sojourns were authorized or desired, but he’s a Labrador. He turns his head slightly away from me on his return and pauses just long enough to telegraph his intentions. Sometimes it is “May I go in the pool, please? “Other times it’s “I’m going in.” Sometimes he will listen. If he is really hot he turns off his ears, bounds up the steps, walks to the pool ladder, puts his front feet on the top rung of the ladder and pushes off. A plume of water erupts, he stokes about in a large circle for maybe thirty seconds with only his breathing making noise. He then returns to the ladder, puts his front legs over the top rung and pulls his rear legs to the lower rungs and steps up the ladder to the deck. He will then carefully place the ball on the deck, give a great shake, pick up the ball and sits down at attention ball in the mouth near the ladder and wait for me to come throw the ball back into the pool.

January 2007


Last week the Midwestern United States winter came to southeastern Virginia. Instead of low 30s F we got down to as low as 15 degrees F for several days. There was ice in the skimmer even though the pump was still working. After an hour of retrieving his ball in mid 40 degrees F sunny weather Jack got too hot. He had been glancing up at the pool on his return for a couple of throws and his tongue was almost down to his elbows so I was not surprised when he did not present the ball to me but continued past. "Jack! No!" He stopped and looked over his shoulder at me. "It’s too cold." "Snort." He headed up the steps. "Jack." He stopped but did not look at me. "Fine. Go ahead. See for yourself”. He pushed open the gate and headed for the ladder.

I was sitting on the patio below the level of the deck. I saw him go in, saw the geyser, but could only hear what happened next. There were two more plumes of water right away as well as the sounds of thrashing about. Maybe five seconds after he dove in, his head appeared at the top of the ladder. He hauled himself out of the pool, dropped the ball, and gave an extra long shake. He then found the ball, picked the ball up, ran to the gate, pulled it open, ran down the steps, and brought me the ball. He was running toward the back of the yard before I threw it. He has not glanced at the pool since.
 

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Love the story! :laugh: You have to laugh when those ears slam shut and they go ahead and do whatever is on their mind. Once they do it, it's like they realize what you were trying to tell them but they won't admit it was a blunder for love or dog biscuits. I think that the labradork lives in each one of them. :laugh: :laugh:
 
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