“It was a splendid summer morning
and it seemed as if nothing could go wrong.”
~ John Cheever, American novelist and short story writer
Summer always seems long in coming. Although once established its weather lingers forever; day after day of relentless heat marks the forecasts. Usually I sing the praises of the season … longer evenings, vacations, barbecues and the like. This year, in particular, these are a little more difficult to embrace with wildfires burning out of control and the related loss of life and homes, five years of drought, bark beetle infestations and an earlier than average onset of heatwaves. In spite of all these, summer moves forward …
Each summer, our dogs must endure water safety instruction. Before continuing, I must interject; water safety for our children should always come first, especially living in Southern California. Having said that, in the throes of summer, our pups’ pool safety is often overlooked. Like us, they seek heat relief, be it a drink or a full-body cool down. Offering both, a pool is an open invitation. But note: Approximately four times as many dogs than people die from pool drowning.
Abby, the golden retriever, takes to the water as expected of her breed. Then there’s short-legged Micky, the corgi-beagle; the poor little guy can barely tolerate getting his paws wet in a rain puddle. One should never assume all canines are natural born swimmers. Given an ocean or cool mountain stream, Abby goes directly in, but a pool presents different challenges – a sudden drop-off and only one easy exit. Both swimmers and non-swimmers need lessons and/or a refresher class. The Y provides lessons for us. We must do the same for our dogs.
K-9 pool safety tips from various sources.
1. Start at pool steps. Get in first, then encourage your dog with a tennis ball or toy. Help him find footing on the top step.
2. Carry your dog into the pool and walk around. He’ll try to swim, so watch those claws!
3. Within a few feet of the steps, encourage (with a gentle push and guidance) swimming and getting out unassisted. Give praise!
4. Repeat, repeat and repeat.
5. The ultimate goal is locating the steps and getting out from any location in the pool.
6. Stay calm and have fun.
A strong onshore flow and accompanying fog is expected to bring below normal temperatures for the holiday weekend. In many areas, the fireworks may be “dimly seen through the mists of the deep.” At our elevation and being further inland, clear skies are anticipated for the 4th of July.
Happy Birthday, America!
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.