The secret to a fun day.
Two smart, pretty girls and at least one smart handsome dog.
Just add water.
Emma and Laura were home from college for the big wedding, so yesterday we rode out to Shell Mound.
Shell Mound is a division of the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge and consists of saltmarsh, an enormous first Floridian shell midden, a fishing pier, and a sandy boat launch area.
The sandy boat launch was our goal on this beautiful spring day.
Bear attempting to jump into Laura's arms.
With our abundance of alligators, it's not really a good idea to take your Lab swimming in most Florida freshwater rivers or lakes.
As a result, sweet Bear had not had a true swimming experience in his first year on the planet.
Gators are much rarer in saltwater (not absent though!) so we figured the sandy boat ramp at Shell mound would be a perfect place for him to get his sea legs.
First, we emptied all pockets of electronics. I had a flashdrive on my keys, a cell phone, and extra camera batteries on me ... isn't that amazing how tied we are to things electronic?
We also shed shoes as this was an oyster free sandy shore.
We were all wondering how Bear would do. Would he be afraid of the deeper water ... a failed Lab?
We needn't have worried.
He took to it with the usual gusto with which he tackles everything.
Istarted off with a normal leash, but that was like a jerk-your-arm-off torture, so out came the 20 foot training lead and then the fun began.
We found a piece of dead mullet cut bait and tossed it for him to retrieve. It sank of course, but that did not slow Bear down.
He went under for it.
For his first time romping in real water, I was impressed by his ability and willingness to hold his breath and submerge his head so completely.
On the way out to Shell Mound in the JEEP, he repeatedly thanked us all for taking him, so we were thoroughly dog kissed by the time we made it home.
Is he huge or WHAT?
When it was time to go, Bear left the water with the same exuberance that he entered it. Everything is a new adventure for him so even returning to the parking lot holds promise in his puppy mind.
He slept all the way home ... about a 20 minute ride.
I have a video of him swimming and the three of us all encouraging him as he does so. That will have to wait until I can access some of that newfangled broadband stuff.
It is a gorgeous day here at PFHQ and I'm off, so maybe I can get into something wild to share with you.