Monday, September 14, 2009

Sam's Sunday "swim" break from editing

Jumbones, a Great Pyrenees, rests on owner Ethan Seamans as they swim Saturday at
Nations Tobin Aquatic Center in Northeast El Paso. El Paso Parks and Recreation
opened the pool to dogs and their owners after the end of the swimming season.
(photo by Mark Lambie/EP Times)


Yesterday I proudly watched my editor Sam demonstrate his finest rodeo skills at the park. Using the leash of his latest found buddy as a pigging string, Sam ran circles around a picnic table until the leashed dog chasing him was literally at the end of his rope, wrapped tightly to the table along with his scantily clad bikinied mistress.

I'm sure had Sam been at the rodeo he would have won the "calves roping" event this day. And I probably would have won the accompanying photo contest that went along with it had there been one. Sadly, Mrs. Dada being elsewhere in the park at the moment missed it and I didn't think it appropriate to ask Sam's victims if I could take a picture. But Sam and I will always have the shared memory of his accomplishment.

The occasion for this was the Second Annual Dog Day Swimming Event. Held at a pool not far from home, the City of El Paso holds a party for dogs before they drain it's two outdoor pools at the park for the season. The $2.00 admission per dog (humans get in free) benefits the local Humane Society and several other local animal rescue shelters.

Sam, having always been on a leash whenever away home, was free to roam the large park. I was anxious to see his social skills with other dogs. (Learning of his rodeo skills was a bonus!)

Sam strutting his stuff poolside, never letting on he's a water wimp.

Sam did great with all other dogs and we learned a couple of things I'd been curious about:
  • I was anxious to know how he would take to the swimming pools. He didn't. At the home of friends shortly after we got Sam over two years ago, he was "accidentally" nudged into their pool. It was great watching Sam swim for the minute or less he was in the water. Little did we know that would likely be our only time to ever see him swim. And while I nudged him into the kiddie pool yesterday upon arrival, Sam let me know, as turtles go, he's a desert tortoise. Oh, and any dreams of ever living in a wetter clime like the Pacific NW are definitely shelved so long as Sam is alive. He refuses to walk outside if the grass is wet. This has caused Sam and I on occasions to be out strolling the neighborhood in rainstorms getting drenched for his day's end "pee" late at night.
Sam playing with one of his new found friends.
  • Despite the freedom he was given and the distractions of the many, many other dogs, Sam maintained awareness of our whereabouts. Only a couple of occasions did he lose track of us and when he became of aware of this, it was great to see him suddenly lose interest in play to focus on finding mom or dad. And more delightful was his response to hearing my clapping hands and calling him as he spotted us and came sprinting! No doubt, we are soul mates for sure.
This was our first time to attend this event. Sam and I went there Saturday, but it was way too crowded, the line too long. I'm glad we returned to try again yesterday. It definitely won't be our last time.


D.K. Raed said...

What a great day for Sam!

He looks so regal. Nice he didn't forget about his REAL family even through all the distractions of meeting and interacting with so many new bikini-clad friends. You are definitely soul mates!

Our dogs have always been too anti-social for group dog activities. Dog Beach in Del Mar CA was a bust after Juna tried to attack a striking young Sharpei. The last words I remember her owner saying was, as her pup bounded toward us, is your dog friendly? Then it was all teeth and fur, thankfully ending with an unhurt Sharpei (all that loose skin is good for something afterall: Juna couldn't get a decent bite) racing away with her owner down the beach while I held Juna who didn't stop barking until they were out of sight. The Sharpei probably didn't stop until Carlsbad, so unprepared for an attack was she.

Sigh. We will try to socialize our next dogs much earlier, and hopefully with the kind of success you've enjoyed with Sam.

Fran said...

Well a day @ the park-- a dog day!
My dog used to freak out & whine when he saw other dogs-- even though he was 75 pounds big!

We tried spritzers, & telling him no.... but he never got past his phobia.... so we often let him stay home & lessen the trauma all around.

Oh! Once we took him to the beach.... he loved running around & lapping up salty ocean water-- which made him sick.... as a dog.
Barfing & the runs.
That was an adventure we decided not to repeat.

So glad Sam had fun & is a social critter.
Perhaps because he is so well read???

Dada said...

DK - Fran: Thanks for sharing tales of your tailed companions. I enjoyed reading 'em both, although your story, Fran, has tempered some my curiosity of how Sam would be at the beach -- the aftermath didn't sound like much fun.

Sam still retains one annoying habit: when it's just the two of us out for a walk, Sam on leash, he sometimes goes off beserk on other dogs we pass peering out at us from their yards, or other dogs on a leash we encounter. I have come to accept that, in those situations, he's just trying to defend his publisher.