Dog over troubled waters

Boomer likes water, but not to the point of obsession, like some dogs. He doesn’t live for it, nor does he go charging into unknown depths, selling out his entire body in the name of retrieving. Oh, he’ll “go get it,” but he’s not obsessive/compulsive about it.

I guess I should be thankful my dog likes water at all, what with the ways I introduced him to it.

Take his first bath. Cut to our backyard on a warm summer day and me, the perfect but stern dad, dragging my boy across the yard towards the inflatable kids’ pool, saying, “This is what we call a bath. Bath, Boomer, bath. Time for bath. If you’re going to live here, you’re gonna have to get used to taking a bath, so it may as well be now.”

“I set out to be the perfect ‘father’ raising the ‘perfect’ dog.”

Boomer was quite reluctant to get into the inflatable kids’ pool. It took a lot of coaxing. And a little dragging. And finally, the perfect but stern dad putting him in there myself. The bath itself didn’t turn out so bad, well, compared to Hurricane Hair Dryer that came next.


Then there was the time I introduced Boomer to swimming, or rather, “swimming or drowning,” as in, now that you’ve been thrown off the dock into this big body of water, whatcha gonna do? Got swim gene?

Boomer did have swim gene, but it was somewhat distracted by dad’s drama, so his first swim was not what you’d call … a good swim.

Since those early days of “parenthood,” I’ve learned better coaxing skills, like using an excited voice and letting nature take its course.

At first, I set out to be the perfect “father” raising the “perfect” dog. I read books, took him to obedience school, set out to “do this right.” Boomer was going to be the dog I always wanted slash perfect child I never had the chance to raise.

Then came life. And his infallibility. And my infallibility, like me using some of the ineffective techniques used by my own father so ineffectively on me and my siblings.

Cut to my childhood bedroom on an early weekend morning and my father saying, “This is what we call a work. Time for work. If you’re going to live here, you’re gonna have to get used to work, so it may as well be now.”

The dragging was figurative, the outcome equally ineffective.

I’m pretty sure Boomer’s glad I outgrew those habits. He definitely likes frolicking in the ocean waves now. A bath, however, is still up for debate.

Note 2 Self: Remember to add these little Notes to Self at the end of each and every installment of When in Doubt, Pet the Dog, a memoir or column or periodic blog thingy, now and forever at Randy Boyd’s Blocks.