I want to tell you a story about Poppy and water. It happened when Poppy was very little. I was playing with Poppy one day and I noticed that there’s skin between her toes. I pointed it out to my husband and asked if Poppy has webbed feet. “O yeah” he said “Let’s find out if she is a natural swimmer.” So off we went to the seaside.
The sea was a bit choppy that day and there was a strong wind, so I decided to stay on land. I was a bit concerned that the sea might be too rough for Poppy, but hubby reassured me “Don’t worry. I got her. We’ll be fine.” He picked her up in his arms, carrying her like a baby and started walking into the water. Poppy was only eight weeks old. She was so tiny, all peaches and cream, and just a fluffy ball of fur.
Delray Beach seaside is fairly shallow. You have to walk quite a distance before the water is anywhere near your waist. I was arranging the beach towels and getting comfortable. When I looked up, hubby was far away and the water was about chest deep. He had just stopped and turned around to face me. I looked behind him and to my horror saw a huge wave with foamy white caps rushing towards him. I waved. He waved back. I pointed towards the big open sea. He didn’t see me, by then his attention was on little Poppy and had no idea what was coming. Exasperated, I got up and run to the water’s edge, cupping both hands around my mouth and shouted as loud as I could, “… the wave… hold on to her…”
Too late. The big wave washed over hubby and knocked him off balance. They both went under. When he found his footing and emerged from the water Poppy was gone. There were white foams all around him but no sign of Poppy. He pushed the white foams away to look under the water, no good. He dived under to search but came up empty handed.
Seconds ticked away. I feared the worse. The white foams had died down, and then a few feet away from hubby, out popped a little head and Poppy surfaced. Yeah, she’s a natural swimmer alright. She swam ashore, walked with me to where our bags and beach towels were, planted her butt on solid ground, and that was it. Poppy was done for. She had this fear of water, and whenever we go to the seaside again she wouldn’t even walk on wet sands.
A dog with webbed feet should love water, not to fear it. We have to do something to fix this. Over the following weeks and months, I would get up very early and take Poppy to the beach. I didn’t force her into the water I just let her follow me off leash. Gradually over time she was prepared to walk on the wet sands… let the water touched her toes… this went on for about a year. One day, as usual, we went to the seaside, but this time instead of following me, Poppy rushed pass and hopped into the sea and the water was as high as her chest! I knew then at that moment Poppy has overcome her fear.