When we arrived at the meeting, there was a group gathered on the shore. I was pretty excited about the kayaking and Bingo seemed excited too. A bit too excited. His excitement manifested itself in lunging. At every dog there. I had to get near a kayak in order to go kayaking, but there were puppies near the kayaks.
Lunge. "Bingo, No!" Correction. Lunge. Trudge back up the hill. Look at the kayaks. Try again.
Finally, there was a break. Donna and the perfect Biscuit (I swear that dog is an angel!) arrived on shore and there were three kayaks lined up without any dogs and raisers ready to get in them. I sprinted down to grab one. I asked our local coordinator Donna, not Biscuit's raiser but the one who supplied the marvelous kayaks, which would be a good kayak for us to use. She pointed out two suitable kayaks.
She had also told us which way the tide was flowing so we were to head north so we wouldn't have to paddle against the tide and need to be picked up by car! I dragged Bingo over to a kayak and he eyed it distastefully.
"Bingo, in." He was standing in a couple of inches of water and tilted his head down to look at his feet. Then he turned his head to look at the puppy getting in the boat next to us. I felt a lunge coming on. I grabbed his front legs and pulled them into the kayak. As soon as they were in, I leaned over to grab his back legs. His front legs popped out of the boat and into the water on the other side.
I tried pulling on the front end, but he did a little hop and jumped out of the boat so that he was now on the opposite side of the kayak facing me all innocence. Damn. Time to start over. I pulled on the front legs. In. Out.
I've read about this somewhere. Ack! Finally as one end is hunching to jump out I catch it and shove both ends in the hole in the kayak. There! Dog in boat. Dog facing me in boat. Is the dog supposed to be facing me? I have a small moment of panic. I stare at Bingo. Bingo stares back balefully. Better to have him looking at me than looking at something else I figure. So I sit down in the boat. While it still on the shore.
Hmmmm. Problem. 85 lb dog. More than 85 lb me. Kayak. Small 10-12 year old boy standing at side of kayak offering to push us into the water. Simple physics tell me this won't work. I glare at Bingo. Mind you, there is a large paddle next to me that I have shoved under some stretchy strings (stretchy strings being the technical term for them) to hold it in place as I figure out what I am going to do to help this small boy push me and Bingo out to sea. I shove my two feet out of the kayak and try to lift my bottom up and haul the kayak back a few inches.
Bingo eyes me warily. This lurching about is not particularly confidence inspiring and I can see a thought forming in his small pea brain that perhaps leaping from the kayak into the water and fleeing is the safest option.
"PUSH!" I yell at the small boy and I cram my feet on the sand and shove backwards until I feel a certain bouyancy that indicates that we are indeed afloat. "THANK YOU!!!" The small boy smiles.
Bingo cast a look over my shoulder at the shore as Donna, local area coordinator and kayaker, yells, "Do you know how to steer?"
"What? Steer!? No." I think that might be panic on her face or shock, but I say,"I'm not going far. I'll figure it out."
My plan is to go out just far enough to make a circle and then come back in. I know Bingo. He's hatching up some evil plot to leap out at another kayak or perhaps the kayak is rocking away all thoughts of lunging and I'm doing him a disservice. Perhaps my fears are all my own. Either way, I am taking no chances.
Small circle at sea. No chance of Bingo leaping out and swimming to shore.
On our way back, Bingo is taking in the sights. He was a good boy throughout the small circle at sea. I even figured out how to steer. I don't think I actually did a circle. More like a freehand triangly thing, but I got us back to shore where the small boy was waiting like a prince to help us make a landing. (And his peach of a sister took all of the photos!! Thanks very much!)
Bingo did decide about three feet out that he had had enough and jumped out and dragged us in. I admit, I did shriek just a bit. A tiny bit. Donna, local area coordinator and kayaker (our group has a lot of Donnas!), had us take this photo with Bingo facing out. A much better photo, but I think it would have been a very dangerous paddle.
"Is that all?" Donna asked. "Don't you want to kayak some more?"
"Oh, I don't want to be a kayak hog." I gestured broadly with my arm. There are so many puppies who want to kayak." The place was nearly deserted, although there were plenty of puppy raisers up on the hill. Donna looked at me and grinned.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I want everyone to have a chance to kayak! It was such fun." My heart was pounding and I could hear the blood rushing by my ears. I could see in my mind's eye Bingo leaping off the boat and dragging me with him. I could see the kayak, abandoned, drifting off in the bay. Then Bingo and I would wash up on shore completely soaked: him happy and cheerful with a huge grouper in his mouth, me horribly bedraggled and spitting up sea water. "It was such fun."