Dog vs. Captain
How many pictures are there of the beautiful golden retriever perched in the bow of a boat, ears gracefully flapping, tongue joyfully hanging out? Dog lovers know that our four-legged friends love to get out on the water! Well…most do. Here is the story of a single minded Basset Hound who took on the captain of the vessel.
For those of you who don’t know what a Basset Hound is, picture a 70 lb polish sausage on 8 inch legs with ears that drag on the ground and feet that turn out like a ballerina in first position. They are single-minded animals and will do what they want, when they want to. Our Basset Hound was called Melody, named for the songful howling she would make when the construction workers next door opened their lunch boxes. Melody loved the outdoors. She would fish for minnows, follow her nose through the forest and chase squirrels up trees. What she really loved was boating. At least we thought so.
One weekend in July, mom and I went away, leaving dad and the Basset to fend for themselves. Feeling benevolent (and not a little sorry for himself) dad decided to take Melody for a boat ride. She hopped in and assumed her usual position leaning over the port side watching the water go by. There was no need to rush, a slow and peaceful cruise, just the two of them enjoying the great outdoors. Man and man’s best friend.
All was well…until there was a SPLASH! Hearing this and sensing a lack of presence in the stern, Dad spun around. Melody was swimming madly away from the boat, heading to the middle of the lake with single-minded purpose. While not designed for streamlined movement through water, a Basset Hound can, nonetheless, make good time, particularly when in that purpose-driven zone. Alarmed at the prospect of losing the family dog to the depths, the captain immediately began pursuit. Pulling up alongside Melody it soon became apparent that hauling her into the boat would be challenging. It was like hauling a 70 lb wet spaghetti noodle … you grab one end and the other keeps going. There was nothing to do but to disembark from the vessel. Dad heroically abandoned ship and got leverage under the rear-aspect of the dog, heaving her into the boat. As the devoted captain settled himself to continue the cruise there was another SPLASH. Off she went again, dog-paddling for all she was worth. In went dad in hot pursuit. Again, he heaved her up and followed her into the boat. As she launched herself a third time, it began to dawn on the faithful captain that the dog had no intention of staying in the boat while he was in it. He tried one more time, but again, as soon as he got back in the boat, the Basset left.
Normally a captain does not abandon his ship, he will ride out the storm, seeing his passenger to safety. But what if that passenger does not want to share the vessel? The only solution left was to leave the dog in the boat and swim back himself. And so he did. The captain took to the water, tow-rope in mouth and struck out with a strong front crawl back to shore, pulling a proud hound dog, seated comfortably in the boat.
Melody loved boating but as it turns out she only liked it when Mom and I were present. She was never invited again for a cruise with Dad and to this day he won’t talk about the incident.