Right, who’s got new year resolutions then? You know, those things that seem like a great idea on 31 December (like those homemade cocktails, am I right?).
I bet one of them involves getting fitter, doesn’t it? I know it does for mum. Her running has fallen by the wayside this year but in 2018 she plans on getting back to it – and I for one am pleased because it means she’ll run me again too.
Mind you, I do remember a similar resolution last year…
However, much as I love running with mum I do enjoy my swimming. It look me a while though…when I was a pup I used to walk around the puddles to avoid getting my paws wet. And I was two years old before I swam properly.
Was it in the Solent? Oh no, why would I swim a mile from home when I could do it nearly 500 miles away in Loch Long? After an 0200 start from the south coast of Hampshire we finally made it north of the border 10 hours later.
Nothing like a wild swim to get the blood flowing again after being crated for so long, with only toilet breaks to stretch my legs.
I do enjoy a swim in the Solent, but only in the warmer months. The rest of the year I’m happy to paddle – although mum uses the sea as nature’s bath when I’m muddy as there ain’t no way she’s getting me into the shower at home!
Most of my swimming year round is done at K9 Aquacise & Hydrotherapy, where I get to have fun in a warm pool, and hydrotherapist Pam puts me through my paces. She says a five minute swim is the equivalent of a 30 minute walk, so my half an hour in the pool means I’m happy to spend the rest of the day a-snoozing and waiting for mum to give me my dinner.
Pam has the patience of a saint. The very first time I went, it took no fewer than 17 toys in the pool and over 30 minutes before I had the confidence to even get off the ramp.
Fast forward a couple of years and now I charge up the ramp and into the water as quick as a flash – although she does have to chuck a ball in first! What’s the point otherwise? No ball, no fun. My mantra for life.
If you’ve never swum your dog in a pool before, it’s not just a case of ‘in you go and off you go’. My session is carefully timed; I have four swims of 4.5 minutes, then two of three minutes – I’m very fit so this suits me fine. Dogs who are not so fit may have much less than this to start with.
The serious bit (well, as serious as it can be having a great time in a pool) is followed by some fun splashing about. This is when I play catch with Pam – I just love trying to catch the balls she throws for me. And she doesn’t fool me when she hides a ball either, I know it’s there waiting to be thrown!
I must have a six-pack by now, as I tread water keeping my beady eyes on Pam and the ball which she said is really good for my core. Maybe mum needs to crowbar herself into her wetsuit and ask Pam to chuck a ball for her too!
I am a bit grabby with the ball so end up swallowing the water, which can lead to a bit of coughing every now and then (although I’m not as bad as I used to be). I’m ashamed to say once I coughed hard enough that I was sick in the pool! What a treat for Pam, I could tell she was thrilled. I’m pleased to say I’ve never had an accident from the ‘southern end’ though.
After swim-swims, it’s time for the dreaded shower. Testament to Pam’s patience is the way I’ve progressed here. The first time I went, there was no way on Earth I was going to let her shower me. Literally. Pam couldn’t even get me wet, let alone smother me in baby fresh shampoo lather (lesson here for puppy owners – get your dog used to being showered while they’re still small and pliable!).
Now, I’m happy to have my pre-swim shower and post-swim shampoo. Well, I say happy…it’ll never be my favourite thing in the world but I’m happy to tolerate it, let’s put it that way.
Mum takes me swimming once a month, and my next session is booked for a couple of days after our Sunrise to Sunset Walk in January (there’s still time to sponsor me by the way). Mum thought it would be good for me to have some non-impact exercise afterwards, and truth be told she’s not fancying a long dog walk two days later either!
If you live in Hampshire, you might want to check out K9 Aquacise & Hydrotherapy for your dog. Other canine swimmers are available of course, but I’ve not been to them and I like Pam. So there.
This is my last post before we rush headlong into 2018 so I’ll finish by saying a big woofy thank you to all of my readers and subscribers. If you have any ideas for what you’d like to read on Woofs With Wilson next year, please let us know. You can email me via my Contact page.
In the meantime, enjoy your new year celebrations. And remember, all dogs have been briefed to demand an early walk on New Year’s Day to serve you right for drinking too much.