The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘swimming’


Spring has arrived on the Campbell Estate.

There are pros and cons to Spring.


  • The river has turned to splashy wet stuff again.
  • My goose friends have returned.
  • A whole lot of birds are singing to me every morning.
  • Elizabeth is going for longer walks with me again.


  • It’s getting a bit warm for big woolly dogs like me.
  • The wood ticks are out. They really suck.
  • I need to be extra vigilant because the bears have awakened.
  • There’s a bandit [a Raccoon] raiding the bird feeders and pooping on our deck at night.

I was in swimming even before the river had gone completely splashy this year. I was trying to perform a rescue. I was patrolling ahead of Elizabeth on a walk we took through the forest to our point. When I got to the shore, I heard something breathing oddly. It was in the water, and after a moment or two of looking, I saw its head as it swam along the line of the hard water. The wake it made caused the hard surface, which had formed into fingers in the melting process, to tinkle like the tags on my collar do when I run.

I stepped into the water. It was cold. Even for me, it was cold. I decided that little creature better come out and warm up, so, I barked at it, “Come to shore and warm up! Too cold! Too Cold!

I was too late. It suddenly turned nose down, bottoms up, its broad tail hitting the wet splashy stuff hard as it went out of sight.

I went into emergency mode and leapt out into the frigid river. It’s my Newfy heritage – I can’t help it. I swam out to where I saw it go under and circled. I couldn’t find him.

A couple of minutes later, I saw his nose break the surface. Still alive! I turned for him, but he went down again.

Elizabeth showed up and told me to get out of the water. She was right. I needed to warm up a bit. It was really cold. I climbed out onto the rocks and gave myself a good shake, then I looked at her, pointed at the river with my nose and whined. She’s not much use at cold water rescue but you never know when she might come up with a good idea. Sometimes she surprises me.

“It’s okay, Stella. That’s a beaver. I heard it slap its tail at you. He’s fine.”

And then he came up again!

I plunged back in. No one is better than I at cold water. If I’m freezing to death, then so is that broad-tailed water slapper! I won’t let it happen!

I swam around and around and around again. This time he was gone for good, poor thing. I did my best, really I did. If they’d just relax and let me help, I could save them. I know I could.

We don't have a picture of a real broad-tailed water slapper, but we do have this puppet at the shop. This is exactly what they look like when they are on land. But they spend most of their time in the splashy wet stuff. They eat trees. Really.

We don’t have a picture of a real broad-tailed water slapper, but we do have this puppet at the shop. This is exactly what they look like when they are on land. But they spend most of their time in the splashy wet stuff. They cut down big trees with their teeth and eat the bark. Really.

I was feeling pretty sad about the incident. And I was pretty cold, too. I came over to Elizabeth, shook off and let her feel just how cold the water was. I really could have used a cuddle at that point.

Sometimes Elizabeth doesn’t read me that well. She turned back to the woods and resumed her hunt for deer sheds. She wanted some for making displays at the bookshop.

Two-leggers are strange – there are hundreds of dead branches she could just pick up and take home, but no, she must have only the rare branches that fall from sneaky dear heads during the winter. There were no deer around with branches on their heads that day. I know because I then ran everywhere I could find them and checked. Just branchless deer.All that running helped me to warm up, though, so it’s all good!

We didn’t find any of the sheds on the ground, either. Fortunately, Elizabeth had some in reserve that she could use. She’s busy cleaning them up and oiling them now.

Oh, look! She's got one up now. She thought they'd make a good displayer for the new puppets and First Nations jewellery she's selling at the shop.

Oh, look! She’s got one up. She thought they’d be good for showing off the new puppets and First Nations jewellery she’s selling at the shop.

‘Woofless’ Catch Up…

Drying off after a summer swim. Doesn't my wet mark look like a sheep? I decided to guard it, just in case...

Drying off after a swim last summer. Doesn’t my wet mark look like a sheep? I decided to guard it, just in case…


The bookshop moved into the front of the building again in July, and joined forces with a local antiques shop. Here I am, between customers, in the new shared space.

The bookshop moved into the front of the building again in July, and joined forces with a local antiques shop. Here I am, between customers, in the new shared space.

Danger in the Depths!

Some days are just so lovely. Thursday started off like that.

Elizabeth took me on a ride first thing, and we dropped off the garbage and the recycling for pick-up at the Big Gravel Path. After breakfast, she pumped up the deflated wheelbarrow tire so she could start taking her hot peppers from the balcony garden down to the  Greenhouse, which is actually brown until you step inside and see all the plants Kay has in there!

We haven’t had frost yet, but we’ve had several warnings. Elizabeth still has a lot to do before she’s ready for frost.

On the way in to get the first pepper plants, Elizabeth was distracted by the Kibble Snatcher family. While she was hand feeding them, a stranger Growly Beast came into our driveway.

Kay and Elizabeth seemed to be expecting the fellow who got out of it. They knew who he was, anyway. He’d come to go for a swim.

Odd. It was pretty cool for two-leggers to be swimming. The two-legger pups next door didn’t go last weekend. But, oh, well… I’m always happy to make a new friend. If he swims, so much the better!

I was all ready to take him down to Al and Joanne’s dock, where the two-leggers all like to swim from. Elizabeth had just come up from taking the first load of pepper plants down the hill, and the man asked her where the best place to go in would be.

While we had been down the hill, he’d changed into his swimming fur. I’d never seen anything like it! But I was too polite to say anything. Besides, I kinda liked him. He was a good ear-scratcher.

We walked down the hill again, this time taking the path to Al and Joanne’s dock. But instead of turning that way, we headed straight on down to the water’s edge. He sat down on a rock and made a few adjustments to his swimming fur and then began to walk out into the water. He sort of lay down on the surface, like two leggers do when they go swimming. And then he disappeared!

Elizabeth ran up the hill. I stayed down at the shore waiting for him to come up again.

I waited.

I waited.

He didn’t come back up.

Okay, so there are the bubbles. But he isn't coming up for more air!

Where did he go? Something’s gone very wrong here…

I found this very distressing. I didn’t know what to do. I paced along the shore calling him to come back.

But he was gone.

Elizabeth returned. I thought she’d gone for help. She had actually gone for her camera.

Noticing how distressed I was, she sat down quite calmly on a rock beside me. “He’s okay, Stella. Look! See those bubbles? That’s Dave! That’s where he is. See? There they are again. That’s him!”


Okay. We have a bubble blurp. Still no Dave, though. I don’t think a two-legger can hold much more air in their lungs. He’s been down there an awfully long time. He needs HELP!

I didn’t care what she was saying. Diver Dave was in trouble. And I didn’t see how I could help him.

Yup. See what I mean?

Yup. See what I mean? He’s drowning!

Then I saw him!

What on earth is going on? Something's got a hold of Diver Dave!

What on earth is going on? Something’s got a hold of Diver Dave!

I ran over to another spot where I thought maybe I could get to him faster.

My Newfie genes were screaming, “RESCUE HIM! RESCUE HIM!”

As you know, though, the other 3/4 of me is Great Pyrenees. “WAIT! You don’t know what that is out there, and you can’t get to something that’s underwater. What if it comes out and goes after Elizabeth and you’re caught out in the bay when it attacks her? STAY AND GUARD ELIZABETH!”

I was so conflicted...

I am so conflicted…

Just as I am about to jump in,

Diver Dave emerges, victorious!

Diver Dave emerges, victorious!

As he rose out of the depths, he said to Elizabeth, “There’s a big turtle down there… if you want some soup!”

Big turtle? It must have been GARGANTUAN!

He seemed a bit tired as he came out. I noticed that he stumbled a bit as he waded back into shore. But he seemed quite nonchalant. As we walked back up the hill to the house, he was talking quite casually to Elizabeth about witches’ hats and putting a few rocks on this one to weight it down, how there was a lot of heavy algae at the same level as the pump, how he’d checked the pump and everything was okay…. He didn’t seem rattled at all by his horrific encounter.

I knew there were turtles in our bay. I had no idea there was a witch down there, too. Witches. Giant turtles….

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go swimming again!

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