Züc surprised himself.

He’s really clear on his intentions in life: to always be close to his sister. To always know where his humans are. And to always be in a state of happiness, usually play, when not napping, chasing stuff or eating.

So he surprised himself when he learned how to swim.

We were all out picnicking at a lovely, quiet lake in the summer time. I already love the water and swimming, My Fine Husband was in the water (the temp was warm enough) and Hops, Züc’s sister, was in the water as soon as she could get in.

Prancing at the end of the lake was Züc, whining and lamenting as only a slightly dang-it-I-want-to-be-with-you-all kid can do.

Züc, left, and his sister Hops, on dry land.

All of us were encouraging him to join us, from his prancing on the bank, in the lake.

I was only a few feet into the water, and he’d cautiously wade out, whining and unsure… though trusting me to be there for him, literally. He’d carefully walk to me, then go back to shore.

I’d step back and encourage him again to come to me. He’d do the same, tentatively putting his legs into this stuff (water) he hadn’t yet fully come to trust.

Finally, I was out far enough  and he wanted to join us badly enough that he leapt from the shore to me. SUCCESS!

I held onto him, to reinforce his trust in me until he was ready to paddle about on his own.

And paddle he did!

Once he realized he could in fact swim, he did. With his head held as high off the surface of the water as possible, he swam to his sister. Then to My Fine Husband. Then to shore. Then out to us again. And so forth, until he’d swam for several minutes, still with a few low short whines, getting at least a bit more familiar with this strange environ.

Züc’s learning to swim was a (pun intended) watershed moment for us all. Very celebratory since we wanted him to join us, when he was ready – never forced or trust compromised. (NEVER throw another animal in the water that does not want to go – you only foster distrust).

We all had a great afternoon, connecting with each other, the water and the idea of what family is.

Sometimes learning how to swim even with a fear of what the ‘water’ may be makes all the difference.