I’m really enjoying taking Myr to new places and she’s doing brilliantly. The one thing she hasn’t wanted to do is swim even though she’s very happy splashing about in water and running in the mud. Given that the water is soon going to start getting colder, I’ve wanted to encourage her into it soon so that she’s had at least a little go before waiting until next spring/summer for proper retrieving training.
We headed to a new walking area at high tide and about half way round I dropped off the seawall to the edge of the marsh where there was a small creek nearish the seawall. I threw the first dummy perfectly, just in the water, touching the plants at the edge, and Myr retrieved it beautifully. The second throw I missed the edge by an inch, and the wind took it and immediately blew it across the 6 feet to the other side. Bother. Myr tried to want to go, and then decided no, crossing the narrow creek wasn’t for her.
At that point, the only thing to do was to continue the walk and see on the way back, after the water had dropped a bit, if it was retrievable. It wasn’t. I looked at J and said “I’m going to get it.” His response was “You don’t have to.” But there were two things going through my head, firstly, J forgot a dummy on the marsh the weekend before and losing two in a week seemed a little silly, and secondly, it was right there! Literally 6 feet away! Too close for me to be comfortable walking away without at least trying to get it back.
Although it’s September and I was wearing a hoody, it wasn’t that cold, we were by a relatively quiet footpath (only saw two people in an hour), and the only thing to do was to remove my trousers and boots and wade across. I tried to step into the water, reaching waaaay down, and could only just feel very very soft mud with the tips of my toes. While I was pleasantly surprised that the water wasn’t cold at all, I was NOT going to swim, and I didn’t really want to get more than my legs wet, so the next plan was to walk back up the creek to where it narrows/find a shallower spot, cross there and work my way back through the maze that is the marsh. Because I hate the feeling of mud and I’m still aware of my broken toe from a couple of months ago, I left my socks on as a bit of protection from the various plants/rubbish/mud that is in the marsh – so worthwhile! I carefully picked my way across and round and only stumbled into a couple of deeper holes, and eventually made it to the dummy.
With me on one side and J and Myr on the other, it seemed like a good opportunity to see if encouragement would help Myr into the water. She crouched down at the waters edge and with her tail wagging like mad and little jumps she showed how desperate she was to try, but still wasn’t sure. Eventually with a little growl and bark at the water, she screwed up her courage and absolutely launched herself as far across as she could! With 2 strokes she grabbed the dummy and ran at me absolutely thrilled with herself. Lots of praise and soggy cuddles later, I threw the dummy to J to see if she’d go back and with some trepidation, but less than before, she launched herself across again. She did this twice more, each time with a little more enthusiasm and we left it at that.
Of course, because it couldn’t go entirely smoothly, at that exact moment a walker turns round the corner. Bother. J engaged her in conversation while I ensured my fairly long tshirt was pulled down and started working my way back. The extra degree of urgency meant more a few more trips and falls, but eventually I made it back, mission accomplished.
After getting dressed again I noticed that the water had dropped a lot and a peered in to see how deep it was, and in the exact spot where I’d felt the soft mud a large crab was shuffling about. Shudder….