The Newfoundland is also a working dog – bred to help the fisherman haul in the nets and used to cart home the fish. Newfs are also prized rescue dogs. We do the rescuing, that is. We are famous for our ability to plunge into cold water and gently haul our two-legger friends out of it. Apparently we swim better than two-leggers. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know I love to swim and my two-leggers… well, I saw Elizabeth sit in the water once.
I guess that being a Great Newfenees, that makes me a guardian with an urge to rescue once in a while. I must grow a bit more before I can see if I’m any good at carting. Elizabeth promises me we’re going to try that, though. “Next year,” she says.
Last April, she told me that if I really want to be a working dog, I need to get into strong physical condition. I wagged my tail. I’m strong. I run, and run, and run.
“You’re a good runner, Stella,” she told me, “but there is something you can do that’s even better for building strength. And in the summer, when it get’s really hot, it will also help you feel nice and cool!”
I don’t know anything about summer and keeping cool at this stage in my life. But I like going places with Elizabeth, so when she goes down the hill to the river, I’m right with her.
I’m pretty careful around the water. The previous fall when I was just a puppy, I went for a walk with Elizabeth. The water looked really interesting, and I leaned over a rock ledge to get a better look at it. I wanted to smell it, but I couldn’t quite reach it. I stretched further and put my paw out, and SPLASH! It was all around me. And it was COLD!
Elizabeth grabbed my collar and helped me out. When I was standing on the grass again and finished sneezing and coughing, I looked at her. That was awful! I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t push on anything! And it was so cold…. All my wooliness was flat and little streamers of water were flowing off me.
Elizabeth was laughing at me. “You look like a skinny little rat!”
What’s a rat?
“You need to shake, Stella. Shake! Shake off the water!” She twisted around and her hair flew out from her head and went all fluffy.
I understood right away. And I shook. I shook my whole body. I was much better at it than she was. Water flew everywhere – even Elizabeth got wet!
Although we came straight home, I was awfully cold when we arrived; still pretty wet, too. My body was trembling and my teeth were chattering a bit. So Elizabeth got a big piece of human fur (it’s so cool the way they can take theirs off, eh?) [I don’t usually wear towels, Stella…] and gave me the “rubby-dubby treatment”. It felt so good, and it dried nearly all the remaining water up, too. I love rubby-dubbies to this day.
Back to today’s story, though….
All the hard stuff is gone from on top and the water is wet and splashy again. I pounce at the waves coming in. I like the splashiness of water and how it feels on my nose. I like the way the light bounces around from bump to bump on it. While I’m busy with figuring out how this happens and why I can’t catch the bright stuff, Elizabeth is off behind me doing something two-leggerish.
Then I see her grab a stick. This is interesting. I like sticks. I like to chew on them. They are fun to chase when Elizabeth throws them for me, too.
But what’s this? She’s going to throw it in the water? O-kaaay….
I like that she ended it with a shake. ~:o)=