It gets surprisingly hot in New Jersey, and we didn’t have central air conditioning. We did however have a hose, and we would have great fun hosing off the dogs in the midst of hot summer days. It could be a challenge getting a Newfy wet enough to do their rat imitations because their coats were very water resistant but persistence and good aim won every time.
On some days we would turn hose time into bath time. Washing a dog is always good for a story, but washing a 160 pound ill-behaved, slippery, wet dog, well that’s a whole ‘nuther kind of fun.
Outdoor bath time was Cozy’s chance to get us as wet as possible, and she was a master. She would wait until her fur had soaked up the maximum water physically possible, then she would shake. Though hard to soak, once her coat was wet, I’d say she could sling a good bathtub full of water in all directions at once. This of course soaked both Lauren and me, which would make me let go of Cozy, which was her signal to run around the yard like an idiot. I would then have to catch her and bring her back to the hose for the most horrible of all dog experiences: the soaping.
Cozy was less dignified about the entire affair. I would have to hold her collar while Lauren would pour on the soap. We used pet shampoo that smelled nice, so at least we had that going for us. We would have to sandwich Cozy between us in an effort to prevent her from bucking like a wild stallion. This rarely worked, and as a result we would both be soaked and foamy from the waist down which led us to start wearing swimsuits for bath time. Getting the soap through the double coats and to her skin was even more difficult than getting her soaking wet. We would both have to lather and scrub, one of us taking her head, and the other getting her butt.
We decided that as proper water dogs, they needed a pool. Actually, Lauren showed up with a pool one day so I guess “we” decided, though I fuzzy on the details. At any rate we blew up the plastic kiddie pool while the dogs watched. Cozy tried to help but once again her lack of opposable thumbs frustrated us all.
Having finally inflated the tubes surrounding the small pool, we put the hose in and let it fill. Cozy, determined to drink all the water from the hose before it could get to the pool , tried valiantly until she could drink no more. She then thumped to the ground with a snort and watched, clearly annoyed that she had lost the battle with the hose.
When the pool was finally filled we let them in. Cozy leapt the side and stood in the big water bowl and proceeded to drink some more, no doubt happy to have the last word over the hose. Daisy simply stood outside and watched Cozy play the fool. Finally, Lauren went over and gently led Daisy into the pool where she dutifully stood, her feet nice and wet. Now everyone was cool, or at least their ankles were. I remained dry in order to take pictures.
For fun I threw a small rock into the pool to see what they would do. Cozy plunged her whole head into the water, grabbed the rock and gently placed it outside the pool. Cool! Apparently Cozy knew that rocks couldn’t swim. I grabbed another rock and watched, fascinated, as Cozy saved it too. Upping the ante, I grabbed a handful of rocks and tossed them in.
Now I like to think of myself as a smart guy, but this day my intelligence was perhaps, shall we say, questionable. Cozy watched all the rocks sink to the bottom, and unable to save them all, did what any rescue dog would do – she pawed furiously at them all. As I saw her pawing, it finally dawned on me, that perhaps this $3.99 plastic pool would not be able to stand up to the vigorous lifesaving efforts of a large, crazed, Newfoundland lifeguard.
Before I could react, the pool started leaking at an alarming rate, releasing a steady torrent of water from the bottom which flowed down the gentle slope in the yard to where I was standing. Cozy kept pawing at the rocks, one by one grabbing them in her mouth and depositing them outside the pool. Finally, with all the rocks safely rescued to dry land, she looked up at me with pride, the empty pool collapsed around her feet. The image before me was quite the perfect metaphor for my life.
We decided that buying a cheap inflatable pool wasn’t very smart, so we invested in a more robust pool that didn’t inflate, but rather had a stiff outer shell. This one took a little bit more effort to set up since the force of the water within the pool kept the sides up. Being the educated and well-read people that we were, we got it up in no time.
Cozy leapt into the pool, ready to rescue any rocks that should find themselves in peril. Daisy gently walked in with a royal air, again willing to get only her feet wet for a bit. A lady has her dignity, after all.
Luckily the dogs never grew opposable thumbs or started using tools. As a result the third pool stood up to claws and teeth for years to come, allowing a great many rocks to be saved.