If you've read any of my blogs, you have probably discovered that I have a big dopey Rottweiler named, Hoss. He was a rescue dog my sons adopted while I was attending a conference in Denver. Our previous rescue, Tony, had died a few months before and the boys felt like they needed a dog. My wife sided with them and off they went to Pet Smart.
Imagine my surprise when I returned to Virginia and was greeted at the door by a 115 pound dog I had never seen before. I was at a fitness conference in Denver for five days. I had a workout just before leaving the University of Denver, so my sweaty gym clothes were in my flight bag. I dropped the smelly clothes in front of my hamper intending to take them to the laundry after a brief time catching up with the family, and while I was standing there talking to my wife Hoss came in an piddled on my clothes.
That's how we started our relationship. He did that one more time before we got the alpha male role straightened out. Over the next year, Hoss became a part of the family and we love him. He fits right in. He has become so popular around here that he has his own Facebook fan page.
The second winter Hoss was with us we had a 30" snow. The first time I let him out after the snow I stayed by the window and watched him the whole time. He's 36" to the shoulder. So, bounding through a deep snow wasn't a great challenge for him. By that snow, he had grown to a robust 185 lbs. He was a big boy!
Hoss loves the snow, and on that morning he was having a great time playing in it. The longer he was out, the more I started to worry about the swimming pool in the middle of our yard. Hoss was aware of the pool on a clear day, and he had been really good about staying away from it, but on this day there was no pool. There was only a yard with 30" of snow in it.
The pool cover, that is supposed to carry an elephant, did really well at keeping a ton of snow suspended. As Hoss was bounding toward the house I saw him get terribly close to the pool. All of sudden - whoosh - no Hoss. The cover couldn't take the extra weight, and Hoss had no idea he had just stepped on the pool cover.
He went right in to the lower end of the pool (3 feet). I yelled, "Hoss is in the pool!" and before I could get the door open my older son was running around the corner to join me in the rescue. We both had shorts, t-shirts and sneakers on when we left the house.
We charged through the 30" of snow and when we got to the end of the pool I jumped right through the cover. Splash! When I got in pool, I found Hoss just standing there in a couple feet of water. We was looking at me like, "What?" I lifted him to the side and my son, who was lying on his stomach in the snow, helped pull him out.
Hoss headed back to house like it was a normal day. That brings me to my point. Life is fragile. It can turn in an instant, and you might have to make decisions on the spur of the moment that are totally out of your comfort zone.
In those moments, you have to set everything aside that is controlling your thoughts and go with your instincts. That's not scientific, but it might be the right answer. It was for Hoss. It saved his life. The super cold water and the ice in the pool would have been an invitation into the deep end with a minor slip from the big boy.
If I hadn't watched him it might have been his last day with us. Fortunately for me, he didn't slip into the deep end and it wasn't his last day. Even 24" of water on a snowy day was pretty cold for me. My son and I were soaking wet and beet red when we got back into the house. Hoss went to his food bowl, and I went to a hot shower.