17 weeks old
Remember how I fantasized, before Sampson came home, about having a Newf that would actually swim? How I bemoaned the fact that Jonah, and Dakota before him, had done nothing more than wade?
We officially have a swimmer. Not only does Sampson run ahead of us and jump into the pool for a paddle, a cute, summertime thing, and will even venture into the deep end with a flotation noodle under his chest, he has recently discovered the pond.
What this means is that in all seasons, not just the sunny summertime, Sampson will have access to a goose-chasin', muckin', paddlin' good time. It means I will be bathing the pond stench off him in sub-zero temps. It means that I will be vacuuming endlessly the fine dust of dried silt from our hardwood floors. It means his breath will take on that distinctive scent of freshwater fish and crawdads...
But it also means hours of hilarity and enjoyment, that second burst of energy he gets as he comes bounding up the bank with a joyful shake. It means the geese are on high alert at all times, in the water more, crapping on the driveway less. Sampson also has a healthy way to build strength in his caboose, burn off some of that endless adolescent puppy energy, and cool off during the heat waves.
I have also noticed that as I get older, I experience a curious delight from facilitating animals doing what they are meant to do and having it bring them joy while benefiting humans.
This partially explains my fascination/obsession with goats. That's Nico, the neighbor's goat in the background while Piper and Sampson share one of our first pixie crunch apples, doing what Nico loves to do, eating down the scrub and poison ivy along our stream and randomly fertilizing the grass as he goes. And that's Sampson, (right) doing what Newfs are supposed to do, with their enormous webbed paws.
Though they are no longer used as official lifeguards on beaches in the US and Canada, some European swimming spots still count on the Newfs to do what they do best.
(Click here for some great video clips of Newfs training and facilitating water rescue.)
I notice Sampson watching my children attentively as they swim, and though at this point he is more likely to take you down with his frantically paddling flippers than save you, we are laying the ground work for a future skill, and tapping into something innate in him.
I'll vacuum and give baths all winter long for that.
Quick photo for size comparison as Sampson continues to grow. My Facebook friends will remember this photo of Sampson and Atticus (aka, "Sporty") facing off at dawn? Oh how the tides are turning...
(My kale has really grown too.)
Off to arrange our first water-based puppy playdate.
Pics next week!