Without A Trace


  With wife out of town, dog doesn’t get the amount of exercise to which he’s become accustomed.  He’s thirteen, slower than he used to be, but still just as curious, so I can’t take him on five mile perambulation that does wife and still get to work on time.

  So last Saturday he had plenty of energy and we set out.  Once he realized that we weren’t just going around the block, he became so enthusiastic that he grabbed the leash in his mouth and began to pull.

  Our route takes us down a hill, across a busy street, by a park, across another busy street, and thence to a park along the river.  All that way I keep the pressure on the leash (once he gave it back) and hew to the middle of the road.  Those two things usually keep him from doing his business in residential areas.

  We nosed through a few hissing geese, dodged some bikers, and thoroughly marked off our territory.  After a mile or so we got to the spot where, when it’s warm, we unleash him and let him jump in the river to cool off.  Which I did and he did.

  Oddly for a Labrador he’s not a great swimmer so I wasn’t surprised, at first, when he seemed to flounder a bit.  But then he coughed a few times, regurgitated a small bit, and then passed out.  He went completely limp and began to sink below the surface down into the murk.

  Horror stricken, I got to him just before he fell from view and was swept away in the strong current.  Cradling him in my arms I stumbled and we both went under.  Quickly regaining my footing I soon had his head above the surface and made for shore.

  The bank there is steep and rocky and I made it up with some difficulty.  I laid him down and could tell he was looking at me, though without raising his head.  All possible outcomes ran through my head, worst first.  What would I tell his true love?

  After about fifteen minutes he rolled from side to side a bit and after another quarter-hour was on his feet ready to go.  It sure felt like a miracle.   I was light on my feet even though my knee still needs something magic to happen. 

  Only problem between there and home then was the fact that all of the duty bags I’d stuffed in my shorts fell out when we fell in.  He went three times. Fortunately I’ve trained him to back into shrubbery when it is time to make a deposit and thus leave no obvious trace.  Uh, a visual one anyway.

  Bowl of cherries tasted mighty fine that morning.

*Painting above is “Ophelia” by Pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais.  It hangs in the Tate.  Ophelia from Hamlet just after a branch broke on the tree into which she’d climbed, she fell into the brook below, and drowned.  Why that picture with this post?  Whenever the image of lifeless dog underwater surfaces in my brain I conjure up Ophelia as sort of a cerebral side step.

One Response to “Without A Trace”

  1. permanent roomie Says:

    Thank goodness that my true loves are BOTH safe. please .stay on shore tomorrow

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