Leo Saved From Drowning* (Stillwater Diary)

Leo and Ryder, swimming hole, Stone Ridge, NY, 9/9/16

Leo and Ryder, swimming hole, Stone Ridge, NY, 9/9/16

Leo, standing in the water, looked up at me. I’m trained, and threw the tennis ball across the swimming hole toward the big, flat rock–not that far (I don’t have a mighty arm). He swam easily but had difficulty getting his mouth around the ball. Three times as he tried to chomp down, the ball sprung away. He succeeded on the fourth try and started swimming back. He was slow and low in the water. Suddenly and simultaneously in slow motion (the way I remember other horrifying events) he slipped under the Esopus.

Mark was a few feet away and scooped him up. Leo’s eyes were rolled back and his tongue was protruding from the left side of his mouth. Our 14 1/2-year-old Lab was floppy and I thought he’d had a heart attack or stroke. Mark held him up and flipped him upside down (Leo weighs 85 pounds but love fuels superhuman strength in a crisis) to drain out water and then put him down on the bank. We did CPRish. Time continued to stretch but I suppose it was maybe a minute or two until he was fine. I wasn’t, and started to wail.

We assumed that Leo had been extra tired from the weekend. Our favorite kids, Jonah and Violet, the most dogged ball throwers, had visited, and Leo and Ryder took full advantage of people willing to endlessly toss tennis balls over land and water. But we also knew that his back legs have been losing strength and unwilling to risk a repeat, bought him an XL red life preserver from Kenco. The vests were up a double-height flight of stairs which, with coaxing (verbal and crunchy), was doable for Ryder but Leo needed assistance. On the way down, we held onto the preserver’s handle to prevent Leo from stumbling and gently slid him down the stairs.

Leo, with no memory (or negative memory) of his underwater adventure, was eager to swim and retrieve. And took to his personal flotation device like a Lab to water, and didn’t ask if we thought it made him look fat.

Leo, Esopus Creek, Stone Ridge. 9/10/16

Leo, Esopus Creek, Stone Ridge. 9/10/16

*Thanks (and apologies) to the great Jean Renoir from whom I cribbed my title.

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18 Responses to Leo Saved From Drowning* (Stillwater Diary)

  1. David says:

    Glad he is ok and looks way cool (no burkinis for him)

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. MargeryNewman@aol.com says:

    Oh, no! Glad he’s ok, and I love the vest… ********************************* Margery Newman Margery Newman Publicity & Communications New York, NY 212-475-0252 | 917-608-6306

    • Thanks, Margery.
      The life preserver is multi-functional. The floatation part can come out and the vest can be worn as a raincoat (Leo would never put up with that). Or a warm layer can be inserted for winter wear. But Leo is always warm so we were (1/2 jokingly) considering inserting ice packs during heat waves.

  3. Roscoe Betsill says:

    So glad that he, and all of you, are ok! X

  4. hankypaws says:

    Leo looks beautiful in his pink life preserver. His Uncle insists it’s magenta -red because he’s sure you’d never dress him in pink (Tony had a salmon jacket until I hid it). We didn’t have all the details when you called or we would have followed the timeless Holland family tradition. Thank you for saving everyone. Hug our hounds. love, Auntie Dog Biscuit and Uncle T

    • Only red was available but if pink had been the sole option, we would have bought a pink pfd. I doubt that Leo buys into the antiquated idea that certain color are only appropriate for certain genders.

  5. Julie Hedrick says:

    Dear Robin !!! Omg ! Thank goddess ! Mark the hero ! Adorable floaty ! Red is definitely Leo’s color !

  6. jeffweinstein says:

    Wow! Am I relieved.

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. Janet Condon-Krieger says:

    How scary, I am happy to hear sweet, Leo is doing better.

  8. Joyce says:

    I too am so happy for all of you. Leo looks rather smashing. Red and black or should I say ” magenta red” and black are two of my favorites. Have to tell my friends over here about this, I have never seen one here.

    • Thanks, Joyce, for your kind words about our handsome Leo.
      There were only two sizes of flotation vests available at the store the day we went–XL, perfect for Leo, and S, which probably would fit a pug (or similar).

      • Joyce says:

        I am sure the S would sell quite well in the cities. Lots of little dogs here, not too many big ones. With 2 large rivers in Lyon and lots of fountains there must be accidents. May I pass along Leo’s photo to my doggy friends? I am convinced people will be interested. Merci

      • Of course, Joyce, thank you for asking.
        Bon week-end.

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