I never wanted to admit it, but when I was on the mortal side of the River, I never learned how to swim. There was never a reason to learn. I rarely saw anything deeper than a puddle. I am a tiny dog and possibly could swim in a puddle, but one opens themselves up to ridicule by puddle swimming.
Now that I am at the Bridge I watch my friends playing in the River. They ask me to join them, but I always find a reason to stay dry on the bank. But truthfully I longed to join them, but I was afraid I would embarrass myself. No one wants to see a Judge sink.
This week I decided to take action. After my friends had finished a morning swim, I approached Angel Willie, the best dog swimmer I know, and asked him to teach me how to swim.
Hi looked me up and down then sat down and put a paw on my shoulder. “Foley I will try, but you have stubby little legs, a big tail, and the torso of a dehydrated pot belly pig, but If you want to learn, I will try to teach you.
I wanted to learn.
We walked to the river. “On three we jump in,” Willie said. He counted three, and he jumped in while I bent my knees a little and froze.
Willie popped up looking for me. He splashed a paw in the water and encouraged me to jump. I shut my eyes and pushed off with my back legs. I felt wet; then I felt mud. I opened my eyes and saw fish. My paws stuck in the muddy bottom. If I weren't at Rainbow Bridge, I would have been headed there. Willie reached down and pulled me up by my tail.
He held me in his paws. “Kick your paws!” Willie barked. I kicked my paws. I sunk.
He pulled me up. “Keep your head up, swish your tail, kick your paws as hard as you can.” I did as he said. I sunk.
Willie spent an hour with me, and each attempt concluded the same way. I sunk.
Willie put me on the bank and told me he would be right back. He returned with a floaty in his mouth. He placed me inside, and I was floating on the river. Soon our friend came back for their noontime swim, and I was able to float around with them.
So thank you, Willie. You may not have taught me how to swim, but you taught me something more important.
How to stay afloat.