The Saga of a Dachshund’s First Swimming Lesson

Ever since moving into our RV, I’ve experienced a lot of things I never even knew existed! After all, living in Chicago, I never got to frolic by the ocean, or through sand dunes, or through badlands strewn with petrified wood. And just when I thought I had seen it all… my dads “surprise” me with my first swimming lesson. Results were mixed! 

Oklahoma Lake/Photo by Matt Kirouac

So let me provide some context. The first thing you should know about me is that I do not like water. Just because I LOVE sprinting through the sand at Floridian beaches doesn’t mean I ever want to go near the ocean. I hate water so much that I shiver uncontrollably at the slightest drizzle of rain. And don’t even get me started on baths. Thus, when my dads took me to the lake and strapped a doggy-sized life vest on me, I was suspicious to say the least.

Photo by Matt Kirouac

It all started as a seemingly normal day here in Oklahoma City, where we’ve been staying since the beginning of August—and making ourselves feel right at home! Come afternoon, we all piled into the car and made a few stops on our way to Oklahoma Lake on the northeast side of the city. After stopping at a Pet Smart, where they stocked up on doggy treats to bribe/distract me with, we found a quiet, cozy spot along the shore of this small, under-the-radar lake. It’s the kind of lake that’s off the beaten path enough that most people would have no idea it exists. In the hot summer months, it’s a haven for in-the-know families nearby, who flock here for cookouts, paddling, and swimming. Now, I love a good cookout, but I’m a hard pass on the other two. 

Photo by Matt Kirouac

It was another hot, sunny afternoon, and we were enjoying a light lunch at our picnic table (i.e. treats for me, plus whatever chicken I guilted my dads into sharing). All was going swell until they paraded me down towards the quiet little beachfront. I had a life vest on, which made me feel like a hot dog in a bun, and much to my horror, they picked me up by the handle and started walking out over the water. Despite my squirming, I couldn’t prevent the water from getting any closer, and I was forced to start paddling as I dipped into the lake. Sure, the temperature of the water was warm and comfy, but I felt like I was bobbing around like an apple! Fortunately for me, there was never a moment when one of my dads wasn’t holding me and keeping me steady, but still. Come on. 

Photo by Matt Kirouac

In the end, in spite of the fact that I hate water, I clearly did an amazing job. And at the end of the day, it’s yet another incredible experience I’ve done—and we’ve done as a family—on this increasingly epic RV journey of ours. Will I be back to swim any time soon? Absolutely not. I’ll stick to shore and beg for picnic provisions. But my first swimming trip is certainly not a memory I’ll ever forget. 

Header photo by Matt Kirouac

Bark Ranger Finn is always excited to explore the great outdoors with his dads, whether it’s a sidewalk or a rest area, but his favorite places are dog-friendly trails in national parks. Just don’t forget his leash!


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