I had found a lovely campsite in Antwerp beside a canal. Fortunately for the dogs there were several places along the canal where access to the water was easy for them. They loved to go in and swim at every opportunity, especially during the particularly hot weather that we were presently experiencing. They were very good and would wait for my "swimming" command before rushing in.
One of our excursions was along the canal to the nearby town. There were footpaths either side of the canal and it was easy to go from one side to the other via the many locks that there were. This was just as well because one of the paths was wider to accommodate cyclists. It was a popular route so we had to make sure the dogs did not impede the numerous cyclists. This obviously made walking with the dogs along this route rather difficult. Nevertheless it was a lovely walk.
Canal near the Campsite
On the way back to the campsite my daughter and I were enjoying the relaxing non cycle path and soaking up the warmth from the sun. We noticed that the dogs were rather wilting in the heat. I casually remarked to her that when we got back to the campsite I would take them “swimming” in the canal and finished the statement with the remark “OK”. Upon hearing the works “swimming” and “OK” the dogs hurtled into the canal.
Catastrophically this happened to be at a section of the canal that was designed for mooring boats. The sides were vertical and smooth concrete and earth. They were happy enough swimming about but were unable to climb out. I could not see anywhere nearby where they could get out. There was nothing for it I had to pull them out somehow.
I knelt on the edge. Amber, the younger dog, came to me. She raised her front paws onto the concrete bank but the fear in her eyes clearly showed that despite her back legs working overtime she was sinking fast. I leaned in as far as I could grabbed as much skin and fur about her shoulders as possible and hauled. My daughter rushed to help, grabbing more fur and skin. Slowly oh so slowly she inched out of the water.Suddenly Amber found she could grip the ground and pushed. She rocketed out and we all fell in a heap.
Now for Ruby.This was going to be more difficult. She was heavier and not so agile and flexible. Ruby was not stupid. She realized immediately that she was going to have problems getting out. She began swimming off to find a place. I had to call her and persuade her that it was ok and we could get her out. She was not sure and kept swimming off. Eventually with some leaning in and manhandling (or is it doghandling?) we got her to the side.She too put her front paws on the concrete edge but most reluctantly and her eyes too showed that she was frightened. Both my daughter and I stretched down into the water grabbing as much of her as we could and as low down as possible and pulled and pulled. Oh the relief for all of us humans and dogs when she eventually managed to scramble out.
I looked at my clothes. From the waist down I was soaked as was my daughter. No need now to take them for a swim!! There was nothing for it but to continue on our way. By the time we reached the motorhome we were both dry. That was not because it was a long way but because it was so hot.
What an adventure but not one that any of the participants wish to repeat.