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 years old 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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