We called her our little brown trout, for the way she would hover in the water. Aggie’s dappled coat shifted from side to side, like the gills on a river fish standing in a current. To be wet was heaven. She swam and waded and was washed in sacred places for water was Aggies place of worship. It was her temple. If you like, please visit a couple of Aggie’s favorite wet places…
First…there was the “spa,” a deep, spring-fed pool at the base of a hill in the Congressional Cemetery. The spa was a forbidden delight. The smell of decaying leaves would put up a stench, which could be carried 100 yards downwind. Prevailing winds in the cemetery are west, northwest. One could see the nostrils working as we walked east of this fetid pool. It was almost as though the mud and muck were electrically charged. This is when “the calculation” would occur. Aggie would glance over her shoulder to see how close I was and if a quick escape might be successful. Later on, I would pre-emptively leash up our little tadpole. But before this, of course, there was a learning period. And during this time, I sometimes failed to appreciate the arc of Aggie’s radar. 100 yards seemed to be the magic number. If I was not leashing her up at this point, Aggie would run the numbers and her calculator would always spit out the result she needed: RUN! Thus would begin our sprint for the spa. Aggie came to us a little chubby and not very fast. On occasion, I actually ran her down.
But not always. There was the day I wore clogs. Clogs are a ridiculous excuse for a shoe. With no back, they are little more of a bedroom slipper. On the day of the clog, I remember how that little bugger looked over her shoulder, saw she was beyond my reach, and took off. I sprinted after her, my toes clinging to the insides of the clogs to prevent them from coming off. We were at least 75 yards away and I was gaining. At 50 yards I pumped harder. At 25 yards I knew I had this. But as I made the grab for her furry neck, she veered into a slippery low spot that precedes the spa. I lost my balance. Down I went into the muck. As my knees touched down, the little piglet squirted out of reach and vaulted into her prize.
I love this memory for the resolve shown by this little beast, who could not be denied when water was involved.
One of our favorite spots was Daingerfield Island, where we keep our scow at the Washington Sailing Marina. Packing Aggie and Mike into the car for a trip to the Marina was always fun. And Aggie loved to play at the boat ramp, where she could wade in to her shoulders, or swim out for a stick. She loved this. One day we had to go and she was not interested in leaving the water. So we tried to lure her in with sticks and sweet talk. Not enough enticement, but she eventually got close enough to be leashed. As we walked away from the water, I figured she would walk off leash with us, for she had surely spent enough time in the water Nope. As soon as she was unclipped, she boomeranged back toward the water. But not the boat ramp. She went for the lift, where dry slip boats are lowered and raised. Because she was running at full speed, and the drop is straight down, I doubt Aggie could see that we were at low tide…or that the water was now five feet below the deck where the lifts are located. She hit the edge at full speed and I remember seeing her from behind as she soared over the edge, without ever slowing down. It’s possible she cartwheeled or belly flopped, but I did not see her hit because the water was…so…far… down. We got to the edge just after she surfaced from what must have been a real plunge. Those on the docks were very amused. We had to pull her up on the dock by the scruff of her neck. It was quite a scene. And something I am certain she would have repeated 100 times if allowed.
*insert a big smile and the sounds of giggles here*
Thank you so much for sharing that story! And that photo…is beyond perfect for the tale!
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