What do you mean I am not a water dog? Typically when we think of dogs that love the water we think Labrador’s, Setter’s Retriever’s, Spaniel’s, Vizsla’s, Portuguese Water Dogs, NewFoundlander’s …but we don’t often think of German Shepherd’s or Boxer like breeds. Often we make assumptions because of breed that they enjoy or dislike certain activities, that bias can do a disservice to our canine friends! When we agreed to foster Lucas we were not used to having a Shepherd mix, so we had to do some reading on the breed and what to expect, and what we learned is that as a breed they are highly trainable and intelligent but need a lot of exercise to combat boredom. There was a park in Thunder Bay we loved walking our former pooches at called Boulevard Lake, it was natural when we agreed to take care of Lucas that we take him there as it was a good 5km trek. Our normal routine was to walk the trail around the Lake and then load up in the car and go home. There was this one particular day it was rather warm out and the park was very busy, we walked our new friend down to the water’s edge to avoid some of the traffic on the path. Lucas dipped his toes into the Lake and began picking up sticks, he would look up at us and then drop them. I am not sure what made us decide to throw the stick into the water, but we did…Lucas went nuts! For the next half hour that dog ran in and out of the water fetching the sticks, but the other thing he did that astounded us was he did laps back and forth for long stretches enjoying the water. We realized that although he wasn’t a dog that one would typically think would be a swimmer, our muscled, brawny buddy was! Now that we have clued in to the fact that our boy is an avid swimmer we take him to the river or a lake as often as we can so he can enjoy himself! I often think how sad it would have been if we had never discovered Lucas’ affection for the water. The lesson we learned was not to assume, as my Mother always said “it makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’, we should expose our canine friends to as many different situations as possible, you never know when that Shetland Sheepdog will enjoy running along side a bike, without trying to knock you over… you just never know what activities might unleash your friends inner pup!