Saturday, December 18, 2010

The battle of the buoy

Labradors love water, and Magnum was no exception.  In fact, water was the reason for his existence.  He could chase a ball or a stick for hours in the water.  At one time, he spotted Matt across Arbutus Lake in his little fishing boat, and swam right out to the boat, and proceeded to follow it until Matt brought him back to shore.  I was laughing so hard, seeing Matt's agitated expression.  "Can you keep YOUR dog on a leash please?  How the hell am I going to catch anything with him following me like that?"

About a month after Shane was born, we decided to go on a family outing.  It was a warm day in the middle of May.  I packed some snacks for JR and a couple bottles for Shane.  We decided to take a drive up the peninsula because we thought the cherry trees would be blossoming.

We arrived at Haserot Beach a mere 40 minutes later.  I pulled the kids out of the car, while Matt let Magnum out of the back of the pickup.  Today we were planning on letting Magnum have a good spring swim, so we were extra prepared with some tennis balls and a tennis racket.

Magnum dashed right into the water and the turned to face us with an expression on his face that said "Come on guys, let one rip!"  So that is exactly what Matt did.  Matt sent those tennis balls out over and over, while JR played in the sand, and I just watched holding my new baby.  Magnum was having a blast.  He was relentless energy, and absolutely amazing to watch.

We were laughing as Matt hit one last tennis ball, maybe a little harder than the ones before.  This tennis ball went further out and hit a buoy.  I remember distinctly watching as the ball hit the buoy and bounced to the right of it.  Magnum swam straight out, and instead of going for the ball he grabbed the buoy.  He wanted to bring the buoy in!

At first it was funny, and kind of cute.  But Magnum wouldn't give up, and you could start to hear his labored breathing on the beach.  I started to panic, and debated swimming out to him.  "It's too cold, Les, you just can't go out there", Matt told me.

"We have to do something, he won't give up.  I know him.  He won't leave it alone!"

The minutes ticked by like hours, and I had to hand Shane to Matt because I was starting to cry.  JR was already crying on the beach, obviously sensing my emotions.  Suddenly a man ran up to us, and said that he was going to get his canoe.  Where did he come from?  I think I was nodding as I saw him run to a house that was next to the public beach.

I kept screaming for Magnum to come back.  "Please Magnum.... come on!   Come!  MAGNUM!"

It must have been about 15 minutes that he struggled with the buoy.  And I could tell he was actually moving it ever so slightly.  But somehow my last frantic cry for him got his attention.  He looked at me!  Then he started to swim towards the shore.  I was so relieved!  He swam halfway back, and then circled back toward the buoy.

"NO!  MAGNUM COME NOW!"  I think that command would have stopped Hitler in his tracks.

Oh thank god, he turned back around and headed towards the shore.  When he finally reached me he collapsed.  The poor thing, he was shaking so bad!  I ran to the truck and grabbed a couple towels and then ran back to my dog to try to dry him off as much as possible.  He was shivering and cold, but he was alive!  JR and I hugged him so hard.

"Let's warm up the truck", I said to Matt.

"He's riding in the back.  I don't want the inside of the truck to smell like wet dog."

I just stared at Matt.  He said that so matter of fact, so heartless.  But he said it in a way, that I knew no matter how much I would argue, I would never win.  "Fine, then lets get home quickly."

We did get home quickly, I will give Matt credit for that.  I got Magnum and the kids in the house, and made sure everyone was warm enough.  In fact when Matt left for work that night, I destinctly remember JR, Magnum, and me cuddled together on the couch under blankets.  He was still a pretty wet dog at that point, but all I cared about was that he was a warm wet dog.


  1. We are so SORRY to hear about Magnum's passing, we wish we were able to swim with him and know he would have been a great swim buddy.

    We wish your family a Merry Christmas!
    --Brutus and Tytus

  2. Magnum was my new best friend and I will miss him.....

    Love Rufus

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear Rufus. I will send pawsitive prayers your way.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  4. Magnum was certainly an amazing dog. I love learning about him through your blog. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you for the wonderful comments! I am excited to share my stories with other dog lovers.

  6. What a great story! I imagine it must have been funny at first, watching him try to pull that buoy, then a little more nerve-wracking, realizing that he wouldn't give it up!
    I'm sorry to hear about Magnum's passing but looking forward to reading your blog honoring his life!