Dahlia is my 9 year old Catahoula, she came to me as a foster last year and I ended up adopting her. I have seen this girl come a long way in the 15 months since I first met her. She is part of our family, and happily part of Flipflop’s pack.
It’s a very hot summer weekend in the GTA, with a humid-ex making it feel in the mid 40 degrees Celsius. Hot for many humans, extremely hot for dogs!! So after a day of brief walks yesterday, I decided to let Flipflop get his energy out at a lovely dog park nearby. It is in a wooded area, with a creek running through it, which the dogs can swim or wade in to stay cool as they play. I don’t always bring Dahlia to this park, as the terrain is very rough and I worry about her legs.
But today I decided we would only do the first half of the park and not go up on the cliffs and rougher terrains.
Needless to say as soon as we got there, the dogs were extremely happy. Dahlia, Flipflop and their best friend Miss Ellie (who is staying with us this week) were all happily trotting around.
As we walked through the woods on our way to the water, Flipflop climbed down a steep hill to enter the creek. He playfully ran around and enjoyed cooling off. Dahlia stood at the edge looking down, I knew she wanted to go in the water, but I also knew she’s never get back up, if she even got down ok.
I leashed her up to keep her safe and we kept walking until we got to part of the creek where she could easily walk into. And she did, Dahlia, Flipflop and Miss Ellie enjoyed splashing around and cooling off. Greeting other dogs as they came and went. Once ready to move on, Flipflop and Miss Ellie got out of the water and started toward the path, then stopped to wait for me. Dahlia was not quite ready to leave the water though. After some coasting I got her to come out and leashed her up to keep her walking, as she just wanted to stay in the water.
We stopped at a few more swimming areas before I decided to walk back to the car. They had been out for over an hour and although they were refreshed in the water, I was starting to wilt!
As we walked back toward the car, we stopped along the way for more water time as the dogs wanted. After the last swimming area, we continued through the woods. I didn’t leash Dahlia up, as I didn’t think there would be a need, I was so wrong! Flipflop (who’s is young and agile) decided to waddle down a 10 foot cliff and into the water. Miss Ellie looked down, she likes to think things through before doing them, I knew there was no way she would go down that cliff. That is until, before I could even think, Dahlia was going down the cliff and Miss Ellie followed her.
They all safely made it into the water and Dahlia was wagging her tail as happy as could be. It was when Flipflop and Miss Ellie came running back up that I realized Dahlia didn’t have the confidence to get up on her own.
I walked down the path a bit, where she was still in site, to an area where the cliff wasn’t so steep and called her. She stood in the water looking up at me, but still didn’t have the confidence to try and come up. She walked back to where she first got into the water.
After a few minutes, I realized, not only did she not have the confidence, she wasn’t even going to try to come up. There was only one thing to do, I took a deep breath and started climbing down the cliff, holding onto branches and along the way and hoping I didn’t fall!
I didn’t fall, and when I got to the bottom, Dahlia danced with glee that I was there with her. I put her leash on and told her I had her and we were going to go up together. At first Dahlia still didn’t want to come up but as she saw me starting to climb, she started following behind me.
Thankfully Dahlia made it up with no injuries and her legs still strong. I have a few bruises but well worth it to get Dahlia up safely!
Dahlia stayed on her leash the rest of the way to the car and is now contently sleeping on her couch!