16. Annie goes for a swim

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On Father’s Day the weather was beautiful and we took the dogs to the beach. We knew that Annie had gone swimming before when she was with her foster family but so far we had not seen her go in the water. She loved walking along the beach with me when we went, and she would stay right at my hip as we walked back and forth along the water line. Maisie loved charging into the water. She would chase other dogs, run through the waves, swim on her own and venture in when she needed a drink.  Annie would never follow her, she never left my side but I had the feeling she would go in if we went in.

The amazing thing about Lake Michigan is that some days there might be huge waves and other days the lake is as smooth as glass. On this day the lake was calm and clear. We could walk a long way from shore and it was still very shallow. It was a perfect day to try to get Annie to follow us into the water. We had the beach to ourselves so there was no distraction with other dogs or owners. Chris went out pretty far, Maisie followed him and then I started wading out. I could see the indecision in Annie’s eyes as she stood and barked at me for a couple seconds before she started walking out. We took it slowly and even though she was still unsure, she started walking toward Chris when he called her. Maisie was overcome with excitement. Annie was finally coming in! She ran between Annie and Chris until the gap was closed and then she showed Annie when to start swimming. They both stayed close to Chris, swimming circles around him and then they would come toward me. I know it’s their rescue instinct kicking in when they both start circling and try to stay as close as possible. Annie went between Chris and I and when she was near me she would push up against me to make sure I was still safe. I wasn’t going out as far, I had my phone in my hand because of course I was trying to document this special event!

I’ve always said Annie walks with purpose. She has huge feet and she plants them firmly in front of her with each step. She stomps up and down the stairs and I can easily tell which dog is walking through the house because Annie is so much more heavy footed. Well, she swims with purpose as well. Each stroke she took was slow and powerful and she slid through the water like she had been doing it all of her life. Instinct is an amazing thing and it was incredible to see it come so naturally. It was such a wonderful way to start the day!

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