Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

My Dog is So Smart

old dog of the seaYesterday Heather and I were walking the pups through Golden Gate Park when we came upon Stow Lake. Heather noticed that, if you rent a proper rowboat (instead of the little paddle boats), dogs are allowed. Why not? Before I knew it, we were in the mucus-colored lake, Heather rowing Bug, Chieka, and I around. Yes, I can let a woman row me around a lake. I’m progressive like that.

Chieka, knowing full well what was happening, sat in my lap and vibrated like a scared thing. Bug, however, being the brave (and perhaps none too bright) soul that he is, immediately started patrolling the boat. We were barely five minutes into our journey when he walked right up to the side of the boat and put his paws up on the edge.

I think I was about to say “Look how cute!” or some other stupid thing that us dog freaks tend to say whenever our dogs do anything remotely adorable, when Bug hopped right out of the boat.

There was a loud bloop sound and he disappeared completely into the pea soup. I should mention here that we were surrounded by three to five other boats at this moment, and everyone gasped.

Me, I was cool as a cucumber. I just nonchalantly threw my very expensive camera to the floor of the boat and prepared to hurl myself into the diseased water to rescue my beloved canine.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to. His little head popped up like an unhappy duck and he started, well, doggy-paddling for his life. I called his name, probably much too hysterically, and he paddled over. I scooped him out of the mire and brought him back into the boat, where he was promptly put on a very short leash.

It was only later in the ride, after Heather and I had said “I can’t believe he jumped in the lake!” to each other several hundred times, that we put together what happened. All over the lake are gulls and ducks, having a merry time. Bug probably caught sight of one and decided to chase it. I guess he hadn’t noticed that he was on their turf.

Bug sat in the boat, shivering and whining, and stared at the ducks with menacing intent for the rest of the trip.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.