I haven't mentioned here that our Black Dog has a condition called laryngeal paralysis - a very common disorder in older Labs. It's been slowly developing for years, and it's reached the point that he's prone to inhaling liquid and could lead to aspiration pneumonia.
Due to the risk of aspiration pneumonia, our vet gently suggested that either R needed to stop swimming or perhaps he could wear a flotation device to help him keep his snout up out of the water (hedzuppets.com). Of course, we chose the latter. R loves swimming too much to stop doing it.
His "lifesaver" hasn't diminished his love of diving and swimming. I was astounded when he took a flying leap into the water just after putting on his lifesaver for the first time.
His joy was palpable.
Our next worry was whether he'd be able to find the tennis ball when in the water since he is now almost completely blind. As long as we didn't throw it too far, he seemed to follow the sound of the ball landing on the water and could usually retrieve it without a hitch. Occasionally, he couldn't find the ball but that didn't dampen his spirits. Here he was bringing the ball to shore.
He is the best role model for rising above physical hurdles to keep doing what he loves. His laryngeal paralysis and blindness could easily making retrieving and swimming seem too hard to him. But that's not who our Black Dog is. He loves life, and he'll keep playing like a puppy for as long as he possibly can.
Happy Black Dog Sunday.