It's hard to believe, but today, Cabana turned 5! She is doing really well, very healthy, still her sweet albeit somewhat aloof self. Her favorite things are eating, eating, and eating. Unfortunately, her weight has crept up a pound or two, but we are working on bringing it back down (story of my own life). We still walk to the park on a regular basis, where she meets up with her friends. Lately, Cabana has gotten finicky about who she will play with. There are certain dogs she loves to romp with and other dogs she will bark at to say "bugger off".
One new friend is Molly, a 10-month old black lab mix. It surprised me that Cabana was willing to play with Molly, since Molly still has that crazy puppy energy and can be a bit "in your face", as seen here as she tries to kiss Cabana. But every morning at the park, Molly greets Cabana like a long lost friend, and they run and romp, which Molly would probably do with any dog, but it's surprising for Cabana.
A week ago, a nearby lake had a dog swim event. They enclosed the lake with netting and allowed only dogs, no humans, in the water. When we first arrived, it was like a kid's first trip to Disneyland (for most kids other than my own who have never liked Disneyland, but I digress). Cabana could not WAIT to get inside the enclosed area. Dogs to meet, smells to sniff, water to splash in, oh my goodness, what to do first!!
Because the lake was completely enclosed, unlike our dog park, I had the freedom to just let Cabana WANDER. You may recall from previous posts (back when I used to post with regularity) that Cabana has that propensity. She is NOT a velcro dog that stays by your side. At the park, I have to call her back to me constantly, or she would end up in Timbuktu. The lake was quite small, and I could easily see the whole area, so I decided to do an experiment to see how long it would take Cabana to realize she was "on her own". Well, the event would have ended at 5pm, and it was 10am when we got there. It's only a slight exaggeration to say it might have taken Cabana the whole day before she missed me. Maybe dinnertime might have made her think, "Where's mom?" I could see Cabana circling the lake, stopping to meet people and dogs here and there, going in and out of the water, happy go lucky, not a care in the world. Not a single thought of where her beloved human might be. After about 15-20 minutes, I used my whistle to call her. I have a special signal for her--one blow, a pause, then three short staccato blows in quick succession.
From across the lake, I could see Cabana's head go up, her ears alert, and she RAN full speed to find me. Maybe she did miss me at least a little after all.
The absolute best part of the outing was that Cabana actually SWAM. She has always loved the water, but she has never really willingly gone into deep water and doggy paddled. Until now! Maybe it was the nice gradual descent into the water, maybe it was seeing all the other dogs doing it. Maybe she finally, at 5-years old, realized she's a lab and is supposed to swim. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I know, Cabana's not really old, but you know what I mean.
Happy birthday, dear Cubby. You are the best dog ever, and I love you more with each passing year.
>> Saturday, October 5, 2013 – 5 year old, dog friends, happy birthday, labrador retriever, lake, swimming