Big Day For Mary


Mary at Sioux Beach


Crazy little Mary seemed to be doing very well today, so we decided to take her along with her Uncle Nelson on his daily trip to the beach.

Most of the time, Mary does not seem to get a whole lot out of going for a walk. She takes the leash in her mouth and trots dutifully alongside as far as we care to go, but she doesn't sniff around in the bushes, or mark scent posts, or do the other things that seem to mean so much to dogs on a walk.

Today was different, though: she behaved just like a normal dog would act on a shoreline romp. As soon I confirmed that we were alone, and opened the tailgate, she leaped from the truck and scampered to the roadside. Eagerly sniffing here, there, and everywhere, you'd never have known there was anything different about her.

It was pure pleasure to watch the oversized puppy running up and down the beach, investigating smells in the sand and sampling the flavors of driftwood chunks. The cold wind off the bay ruffled her fur, and I couldn't help thinking, "What a great day to be a Newfoundland dog!"

And then she ran into the lake.

I don't think she meant to; she was running along the water's edge, lipperty-lipperty-lip, and when she reached a spot where the beach curved, she kept going straight. One moment Mary was sprinting along the wet sand; the next she was half submerged in Lake Superior, buffeted by the choppy waves.

She seemed confused, and turned several circles as the waves continued to knock her back and forth. "She doesn't know how to get back in," we realized.

"Nelson, go get her!" I commanded.

It would have made a wonderful story if I'd been able to report that brave Nelson swam out and rescued his confused packmate, but such was not to be; he seemed unconcerned. "What's the problem?" his eyes seemed to say. "She's a Newf, she's in the water, what's the big deal?"

I started emptying my pockets for a foray into the chilly waves, all the while the two of us calling, "Mary! Mary! This way, sweetie!"

Just before I began wading out, she caught on. Several shoreward hops, and Mary was back on the beach. Shaking off the water like an old pro, she turned her attention to a clump of beach grass. She seemed a very happy little dog.

As we walked back to the truck, Susan quoted A.A. Milne:

"Did you see me swimming? Pooh, did you see me swimming?


Next: There's A Man Outside!


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