Man’s Best Friend – Part 1

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I mentioned in the About Me page that I have three dogs, all of whom I love greatly. Between them they provide me and my family with hours of fun, laughter and love. I’m going to write about all of them individually over the next few weeks.

Today I thought I’d introduce you to Mack. He’s a black Labrador of unknown age although I think he’s around 5 or 6. He’s supposed to be pedigree dog but I have my doubts. I personally have never come across a pedigree Labrador that looks anything like him and he certainly doesn’t act like a regal blue blood. Usually when I’m asked, I say he’s a black lab cross but I’m pretty sure if I’m wrong he’ll forgive me this minor affront. We got him 4 years ago from a local charity and they were a bit sketchy on the details front. We did learn though that before being adopted by us the poor boy has had a rather tragic life and he has a sob story worthy of any TV talent show. He has a couple of bald patches on his back which we’re 90% sure are from burns that were deliberately inflicted on him, his tail has a bit of a kink where it’s probably been tied up and he hates confined spaces. Even now after 4 years in a stable loving environment, he can be plagued by anxiety. It’s safe to say he didn’t have the best start in life but for all that he is a very loving and loyal dog who loves to please people. He has many little quirks as all dogs do, one of the funniest though is the way he drinks water. Mack is an all action dog, really bouncy and full of energy, but he drinks water like he’s taking tea with the queen. He is so dainty and gentle when he’s having a drink that if you didn’t know better you’d think it was a different dog.

When it comes to the dogs I could pick any number of stories to tell you about and with Mack I could have chosen to recount the incident where he decided to christen my sun lounger by peeing on it. Instead I’m going to write about the recent experience of taking the dogs swimming as it’s fresh in my mind and still makes me laugh.

Mack Hasseldog

One of the things Mack loves to do is run, he’s quite tall and can run very fast. If we’re on a walk, throwing a ball around, the other two dogs can get a head start and he’ll still easily beat them. This also means he’s an excellent swimmer and we recently discovered just how much he loves the water. He enjoys it so much that when it comes to anything water related I’ve renamed him Mack Hasseldog! For readers of a certain age, the link will be fairly clear, you’ll know what I mean when I say the temptation to stick him in a pair of red shorts and strap a torpedo life buoy to his back was very hard to resist, for those a bit younger google, Baywatch.

We took the dogs to a local reservoir and Mack swam right out into the middle of it. As you can see from the picture he was having a great time gliding through the water with ease. I must admit I was a bit worried at first about how cold the water might be, I was concerned he might get cramp and not be able to make it back to shore and I certainly didn’t want to be stripping off and having to rescue him. I had good reason to think this, as I’ve had to perform a dog rescue once before, it was a long time ago at a beach on the east coast. My dog got cramp in her back legs and couldn’t walk/swim. She wasn’t far out but I still got soaked through and it really wasn’t fun carrying 30kg of wet dog up a beach in the North of England! I can tell you that I looked nothing like the TV stars running in slow motion down the beach with their chiselled bodies, diving into the surf and saving the day, barely breaking a sweat while stirring music plays in the background.

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Swimming in the middle of the reservouir

Operation Encouragement

Once he’d decided to get out of the water we wandered along to the small bit of flat ground at the waters edge. The sun was out, we were the only people around and the dogs were super excited. They’d spied the floating toys I’d invested in and we spent a good 30 minutes throwing these into the water. I was launching them further and further until finally one toy splashed down in the deeper water and none of the dogs went for it. Great I thought, it’s gone too far and now they don’t want to get it. I said before I didn’t fancy going in to rescue a dog so there was no way I was about to head out into the freezing waters for a rubber dog toy. To make matters worse, the dogs weren’t even bothered because I had another toy already in my hand which had their full attention. I always take two toys with me because with three dogs one just doesn’t cut it. If the now free floating abandoned toy had been closer in, I’d have thrown the second toy next to it and I’d be sure that both toys would get picked up but I didn’t want to risk losing both toys out in deeper waters. Instead, I sneakily pretended to throw the toy in my hand and then while they all looked away I hid it behind me, cue operation encouragement. Operation encouragement consisted of me pointing at the floating toy, running round like a madman and pleading with Mack to “go find it boy, go on, go fetch it” in that sort of high pitched hopeful voice reserved for times like this. Success! It took a while and I’m very glad there was nobody else around to see my antics but eventually Mack became aware of the stranded toy and that was it, he was off, in full Baywatch mode Mack Hasseldog swam to the rescue. He was very impressive and I’m sure had the toy actually been a person in need of rescue Mack Hasseldog would have been just as effective as the Hoff.

As I write this he’s asleep in his bed, probably dreaming about how a pair of red shorts and sunglasses would really impress the lady doggies, next time he’s out for a swim.

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“Rescuing” his toy