Does your dog love to swim, or is he afraid of the water? When I was in high school, I worked grooming five gorgeous Newfoundlands for a local breeder. The owner was away on vacation, and I came every day and combed out those huge dogs, each one shedding a massive mound of hair. I would groom them outside on their deck. In the distance was a little pond on the property. Every time I had those dogs out on the deck, one of them invariably broke free and headed straight for the pond, where they just stood in the middle. They loved water that much! Once, one was in the house and even went right through the screen on the sliding glass door to get to the pond!

Our Yellow Lab Hudson loved to swim. He was a strong swimmer, and with his thick hide, he could tolerate the cold water in the early spring and late fall. Watching him swim was a pleasure.

Kelly loves the water too, but she’s more of a princess about it. At first she’s a little hesitant to get her pretty feet wet. Then she gets going, but her splashing isn’t pretty. I don’t think she has the stamina to last very long. But she does enjoy a nice dip on a hot summer day.

What I Learned from My Dog: If you really love something, go for it and give it all you got. But if you’re only mildly enthusiastic, it’s okay to dabble, too.