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Now you see him; now you don’t

The mansion whose basement I’m living in has a big back yard, and in that big back yard is a big swimming pool, covered with a big black plastic tarp.

Ace likes to venture deep into the ivy behind the pool to do his business, and he’s always careful to avoid the pool on his way back.

Yesterday — and I blame the Valium — he didn’t.

As I watched — I’m monitoring him closely because he has been diagnosed with a herniated disc — he finished up and started walking straight for the pool. As I yelled “NOOOOOO!,” or words to that effect, he stepped right onto the black plastic tarp, which, unable to hold his 127 pounds, split, causing him to fall into the pool with a huge splash and disappear.

As far as scary moments in our continuing travels, it was right up there, second only to when, while I was holding his leash, he jumped over the railing at Niagara Falls, landing on a patch of grass that led to a sheer unprotected drop off into misty oblivion.

Fortunately, he jumped right back over then. And fortunately yesterday, his head almost immediately popped back up through the same hole he went through, and it was close enough to the side that he could drape his front paws over the edge of the pool and cling to it with a look of panic in his eyes.

On doggie swim days at Riverside Park back in Baltimore, Ace only went into the big boy pool once, preferring to wade in the baby one. When he did try the big one he was unable to get out. It took me and two friends to hoist him up and over the pool’s edge.

Yesterday, thanks either to adrenalin or the harness he’s been wearing instead of a collar since his diagnosis, I was able to pull him up enough for him to be able to get his back paws on the edge of the pool. I pulled, he pushed, and within a few seconds, he was out.

At that point, either invigorated by the cold and slightly green water, or just happy to be alive, he took off, darting around the yard for five minutes over my protestations. He’s supposed to be limiting his physical activity.

Once he calmed down, I noticed how bad he smelled and, with a public appearance scheduled for tonight, a bath was in order. In the middle of that, fully soaped up, he took off again, running in circles around the yard.

His herniated disc seemed far from his mind. I feared the incident would lead to a relapse, but all day, as in the past two days, it appeared to be bothering him less and less, and the yelps have ceased.

Between the tranquilizers and the the NSAIDs — and despite an unplanned morning swim in a yet to be opened pool — I think he’s making progress.

I haven’t yet told the lady of the manor about the damage he did. Earlier, she offered me the job of pool boy, if I end up staying into the summer, which would certainly look good — unlike the actual pasty and balding, pot-bellied, 57-year-old pool boy would himself — on the resume.

Now I may have no choice, needing to work off my debt for the torn tarp. How’s this for a deal? If you pay me extra, I’ll keep my shirt on.


Comment from smoketoomuch
Time March 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

Definitely the Valium.
Based on some of the things you’ve written previously, it seems to me that Ace is one of those dogs that dislikes being wet. The Haley-Bear (our 4 year old Pom) is the same way. She’ll sit still for a bath, but the moment she’s out of the tub the frantic running around begins.
There is a stream that parallels the dirt road we walk each day and the local Labradors are in it winter and summer, regardless of temperature or ice cover. But even on the hottest of days Haley looks at them as if they are completely crazy. I suspect therefore, that Ace is also part Pomeranian! (which part is anyone’s guess;>)

Comment from Diane McCornack
Time March 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

Tell Ace we are so happy the outcome of his adventure was a good one. Thank goodness your were being an over protective pet parent and saved the day!

Comment from Peggy @Peggy’s Pet Place
Time March 23, 2011 at 10:57 am

Wow that was close! I’m so glad Ace made it out okay. One time my dog chased some ducks into a lake and swam out far past her comfort zone…and we had to rescue her in a rowboat.

Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time March 23, 2011 at 11:02 am

Ace!!!!!! What got into you?

Of course he is lying awake nights trying to figure out how to scare his human out of a year’s growth. Looks like he’s finally found a way.

Spencer regards water in any quantity larger than a bowl full as an insult and freak of nature. He doesn’t even like to go out in the rain. Baths are an ordeal past telling, and I noticed that distinctive “dog needs a bath” aroma just yesterday. I guess we’ll be getting wet soon.

I hope Ace is none the worse for his pool dip.