Gunner, Row Your Ham Ashore

23 09 2010

Gunner is one of Hamlet’s best friends.  He’s a yellow Lab who loves to run, swim, eat stuffed animal ducks, retrieve, and hang out in the back of the Jeep while his owners do yard work.  One of those owners is my bestie, Teresa.  So we’re like four peas in a pod – me and Ham, Teresa and Gun.  Don’t worry, our pod is extra big to accommodate four instead if two.

Since Gunner loves to swim, Teresa often takes him to the reservoir (Chatfield, for you locals) and sometimes Hamlet and I tag along.  Chatfield State Park not only has a dedicated dog park but also a dog lake (probably technically a pond, but I think “lake” sounds so much better) that is perfect for yellow Labs and their Boston Terrier companions.

Chatfield dog lake Gunner Hamlet Puggle

Hamlet trying to catch up to Gunner, a Puggle trying to catch up to Hamlet...everyone loves the dog lake!

Hamlet is usually just a wader, preferring to hang out in the water that’s just a few inches deep rather than exercising his doggie paddle capabilities.  This wading was a marked improvement over last summer when he barely touched the water.  However, on our last couple of trips to the dog lake he’s become a full fledged swimmer, going after Gunner and trying to steal his training buoy (a.k.a. floating orange thingy).

Dog Lake Chatfield Res 1

Hamlet gets his swim on at the dog lake at Chatfield Reservoir on a beautiful Colorado day.

A couple of weekends ago a few more people (Mike, Teresa’s husband Steve, Teresa’s sister-in-law Mandy, and another bestie of mine Amanda) came along with Teresa and me to the dog lake so I was able to take some pictures while Hamlet was still well watched after.  Unfortunately with jumping wet dogs, a Great Dane who stole the buoy and took it across the lake, and a pseudo lifeguard rescue by me to save Hamlet after being dunked by some sort of terrier, I got less than stellar photos and not as many as I’d like.  I’m hoping for another trip before fall really settles in when I can take some better shots but until then these will hopefully paint the general picture of the Boston Terrier-Lab cuteness.

That’s my bestie Amanda on the left side of the picture (doesn’t she have a lovely right side?), Mike in the black shirt, Steve in the white shirt, Teresa in the black tank top up ahead, and Mandy holding the buoy and therefore being the most important person EVER in the eyes of the dogs.

Mandy B. holds buoy Chatfield Res

These pups are buoy-obsessed.

Hamlet swims pretty fast for a dog whose legs are only about seven inches long and who has no tail for that awesome rudder-like action.  By the time Gunner has retrieved the buoy and is on his way back to shore, Hamlet can usually catch up with him.

Hamlet catching Gunner swimming Chatfield dog lake 1

Swim, Hammy, swim!

Hamlet then likes to make his move.  He swims with all his might and makes one big push to try to catch the buoy sticking out of Gunner’s mouth.  He really loves to grab the white cord that’s on the side of the buoy.  If he can grab this then he just hangs on and leisurely dog paddles while Gunner “rows him ashore.”

Hamlet catching Gunner swimming Chatfield dog lake 2

Note the white cord on the left side of the buoy. That's "Hamlet's handle."

Most other dogs at the dog lake have tennis balls, frisbees, or sticks brought by the owners for acquatic entertainment.  However, none of them can resist the F-U-N that is retrieving the orange buoy.  It’s bright, it floats, and is nice and visible even when far away.  Here’s a black Lab-mix-looking guy trying to get in on the action.  He then stole the buoy and was growling and refusing to give it back or share.

Chatfield dog lake black dog wants buoy

"Hey, that buoy is awesome. I'm going to move in for the kill."

We happily returned to fetch after the black dog’s owner intervened and wrestled the buoy from him.  Steve threw the buoy far out into the lake and Gunner and Hamlet made their splashing dives into the water.  Just as Hamlet was swimming off to buoyland, some sort of terrier caught up with him and dunked him underwater.  Yes, I said dunked.  It was like the black spot on Hamlet’s head was a sign to this other dog, “dunk here!”  I was terhorrified – terrified and horrified!  Terrified that Hamlet went underwater and horrified that the other dog’s actions seemed so…deliberate.

I don’t have any pictures of this situation because in my terhorrification I shoved my cell phone (a.k.a. picture taking device) at Teresa and madly waded into the water to make sure Hamlet was ok.  I lifted him out of the water and held him while the other dog (terrier dunker extraordinaire bully) jumped at Hamlet in what I could only take as his way of saying, “I’m not done with you! Now I’m going to eat your little Ham legs!”  The terrier bully’s owner then stepped in, semi-apologized and dragged off her dog to another side of the lake.

The saddest part was seeing Hamlet’s face right when he surfaced after the dunking.  His eyes were WIDE.  I realize his eyes are always wide and buggy but I mean you could see the whites all the way around from 10 feet away.  It was like he surfaced, took a big gulp of air, and yelled,”Mom, help!”  At least that is what I heard in my head.  So then I went wildly wading to the rescue.

Hamlet was physically fine.  I think he might have been a little shaken up but I’m sure it was worse for me than it was for him.  I kept him on shore to rest for a couple of minutes and then let him go back to play with Gunner.  He seemed a little more timid about swimming into the lake, like he preferred to go back to just wading around, but again this could just be my motherly, over-analyzing instinct talking.  Although, I don’t think so, based on the way he acted last weekend at the annual doggie day at our swimming pool.  But that story is for next time.

*For the record, I don’t blame the terrier bully’s owner.  Dogs will be dogs and things happen when you’re in public places with lots of canines.  I do blame the Terrier bully, but I only hold a small grudge. 🙂




One response

25 09 2010

Such a fun afternoon! So glad I got to see Ham and Gunner in action. Miss you guys.

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