Any­thing is pos­si­ble

Dog earns right to swim in master’s swimming pool

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES - DIANE HELBIG Visit our web­site: www.chick­en­

Deep into the sum­mer, as we are now, when the heat feels like it’s never go­ing to give us a break, there’s noth­ing quite as sat­is­fy­ing as a cool and re­fresh­ing dip in the pool. There’s some­thing spe­cial about the shock of plung­ing into the cool clear wa­ter on a steamy sum­mer day that soothes the heat away. And peo­ple aren’t the only ones who think so.

Some­times you just can’t keep a good dog down. Or out of the pool. That’s what Diane Helbig learned from the fam­ily dog, Sparky. She shares Sparky’s tale in our book about peo­ple who can’t be­lieve what their dogs do. Sparky taught her own­ers a long-last­ing les­son in de­ter­mi­na­tion, show­ing them that with per­sis­tence, “Any­thing Is Pos­si­ble.”

Here’s the story in Diane’s words:

When I mar­ried my hus­band 15 years ago, I was not a dog per­son – I was a cat per­son. I had not grown up with a dog and frankly wasn’t ter­ri­bly fond of dogs. How­ever, my hus­band was a dog per­son and very much wanted a Brit­tany spaniel like the ones he had grown up with.

So, we saved up all of our change to buy a pure­bred Brit­tany. We are now blessed with a fab­u­lous, ex­u­ber­ant, noth­ing-is-im­pos­si­ble Brit­tany spaniel named Sparky. She is 7-year­sold and as en­er­getic as the day she was born. We also have two chil­dren ages 10 and 13.

A cou­ple of sum­mers ago we de­cided to get a small above­ground pool for the kids. Lit­tle did we know how much Sparky would en­joy it. Un­for­tu­nately, she spent a lot of time prop­ping her­self up on the side of the pool and all the wa­ter would drain out. We spent the en­tire sum­mer re­fill­ing the pool. The re­sults were a very high wa­ter bill and a re­ally soggy yard.

So, the next sum­mer we de­cided to get a big­ger pool. We bought a pool that has struc­tured walls, is 4 feet high and 18 feet across – sig­nif­i­cantly larger than the pre­vi­ous pool. The pool had a lad­der, which was es­sen­tial for any­one to gain ac­cess to the pool. Or so we thought.

We could not have been more wrong. Sparky was de­ter­mined to get into that pool. She would take a run­ning start and jump right over the side into the pool. Once in, she swam laps. She just knew she was sup­posed to be in that pool with the kids.

Af­ter our ini­tial shock (and ex­treme laugh­ter), we re­al­ized that she couldn’t get her­self out. Oc­ca­sion­ally neigh­bors would call me to tell me that Sparky was in the pool and couldn’t get out. I’d go out and lift her over the side. Not easy – and not a safe sit­u­a­tion for our beloved and de­ter­mined Sparky.

Our so­lu­tion? The kids taught her to climb the lad­der. With a small as­sist from them she learned how to climb out, onto the lad­der top, and then jump down to the ground. Now, at any time she can get in, and out, of the pool on her own.

It seems that Sparky be­lieves in her right to swim. It’s as if it never crossed her mind that she should not swim like the rest of the fam­ily. Wouldn’t it be great if we all pos­sessed the same level of de­ter­mi­na­tion as Sparky? She has been a won­der­ful role model for the chil­dren.

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