The fields here in Cumbria, as is the case everywhere throughout the country, are water logged, muddy and really difficult to walk on. My two Labradors of course love it as they are water dogs and they are at their happiest when they are  sloshing  through the fields and deep  puddles with the rain tipping down.  Unlike me they don’t like the heat and they struggle in the summer on hot days so we then have to go out very early in the morning or late at night.

Labrador retrievers, to give them their proper title, were bred as a hunter and water retriever the lab was developed from St. Johns newfoundland’s and other gun dogs in the early 19th century. They were brought to this country by fishermen and were used to pull fishing nets ashore by pulling in the floats, this then developed later on into retrieving game and birds back softly.

They are still one of the most popular breeds for many reasons, one being that the  temperament is very  good so therefore they make good family pets and are excellent with children.  They are also used for many  other jobs including hunting, picking up birds, search and rescue, detection work and for  service work  in many other  areas of life –  in fact they are  good ‘all-rounder’s’.

The Labradors that I have had throughout my life have all loved water and have retrieved the training dummies quite happily that I have thrown into the water for them. That is except Emma (always an exception to the rule!)

Emma will happily, as I said before, slosh through puddles, run through soggy fields and stand in the rain for hours BUT she doesn’t like jumping into rivers or streams.

One of the places that I take Emma and Twinkle to is a little stream that runs through a lovey large field. At one point going over the stream is a little wooden bridge. When we go there I take the training dummies with me and I walk the two of them downstream away from the bridge. After sitting and waiting for me to throw the dummies in the water  they are sent off to do the retrieve.  Emma’s retrieve is always thrown a long way away from the bridge, unlike her daughter Twinkle, who when sent off always dives into the stream like an otter and then comes back at break neck speed. Emma refuses to dive in but heads off towards the bridge where she runs towards the dummy then dips her feet in and very elegantly swims off to do the retrieve; she then repeats the whole process again and returns in a very stable and sedate way to give me her prize.

Wherever we are and wherever the dummy is thrown she will always look for the shallow bit so that she can launch herself in to the water in a very stately way rather like a galleon in full sale she always retrieves well whether it’s a dummy or a bird, but she can never be persuaded to behave any differently. She always does what is asked of her that’s all that matters and at the end of the day she is happy.

Well now that March is upon us I can guarantee that my dogs and myself will be doing more sloshing and splashing through soggy fields for some time to come and Emma will be happily sailing into rivers like a galleon in full sale happy days despite the rain.

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