So I took Murphy down to the river last night because it was so hot And Murphy, being nothing if not smart, started whining and capering as soon as he saw me grab my swim leg. He knows enough to associate that leg with an impending swim for him.
He jumped right up in the truck, and all the way down to the boat launch where he swims, he had his head out the window, whining with anxiety and delight. This guy sure loves to swim.
But what do we see when we get to the boat launch? A large woman in a chair sitting smack in the middle of the ramp with a fishing pole. I recognize her as one of the people staying in a camper on the adjoining privately-owned campsite right next to the boat launch. I'm not sure why she's fishing here, as that campsite has plenty of river access and even it's own pontoon dock. But here she is, on the only real public access suitable for entry to the river, parked in a chair. As I pull up, Murphy's whine turns into a yowl because he wants out really, really bad. The woman just gives us a glance and keeps right on fishing, however, and I can see that a problem's about to develop here. There's no way that I can explain to Murphy after driving him all the way down here with his swim toys and parking him in sight of the water that he's not going to be able to go in. It'll be like the time that I inadvertently walked Lagniappe past his favorite ice cream store after it had closed for the night--dogs don't understand "closed" nor to they accept disappointment gracefully.
I got out and walked towards the woman. "Hi," I said. "Do you mind if the dog and I swim here?"
"I'm fishing here," she said, as if I might have thought that she was doing something else.
"Yeah, I can see that," I said, trying to be diplomatic." But this is the only place that folks and dogs can swim here. Any chance I might get you to fish off your campsite there and let us use the ramp?"
"I was here first," she replied, kind of turning away so as not to even look at me.
Oh. well if that's going to be the case...
"All right," I said. "Let me break the news to the dog."
I walked back to the truck, where Murphy stood, head out the window, whining loudly in anticipation. I opened the door and gave him the bad news:
"Sorry Murphy," I said. "Looks like you can't swim today. She was here first."
But like I said, those German Shepherds just don't understand "here first". He vaulted out of the truck with his floaty toy in his mouth and bolted straight down the boat ramp into the water, not even giving the woman a passing glance. Once he hit the water like an Apollo capsule splashing down, he just started paddling around in sheer, cool delight. Life, for Murphy, was good.
"Murphy! She was here first!" I yelled at him. She was giving me a nasty look, but he was totally ignoring me.
"Sorry," I said to her by way of token apology. "I tried to tell him but dogs can be so rude."
I didn't even get an argument from her. She didn't even say one word. She just reeled in her line, picked up her chair and bait tin, and huffed back over onto her own campsite. A couple of minutes later, she was set up again on the pontoon dock and Murphy was half way across the river in pursuit of his toy.
Moral of the story: "When diplomacy fails, send in the dog."
Or maybe: "Cry 'havoc' and unleash the dog of swim."