I thought I'd wait a couple years, at least, before getting another dog. I still wasn't over the death of poor Bailey, my canoe dog for fourteen years. But my wife knew better. She knew I wouldn't last that long without a dog…or a new couch for that matter.
Ellie is five. Alana purchased her from a dog breeder who looks to sell off the mom dogs after five years of age. And she's a Spring Spaniel — just like Bailey was. But she's definitely not Bailey. Looking at Ellie at first was like looking at a ghost, until we took her paddling this past weekend. What a disaster. She's a kennel dog which is better behaved, comes back on command, doesn't bark or whine, gets into and out of the canoe without question, and doesn't eat poop behind the campsite. But she can't swim. What's with that! I thought all dogs could swim. Not Ellie.
I discovered Ellie's deficiency while lining up some rapids. Alana and Kyla (my five-year-old daughter) were walking the shore while I worked the canoe up some swift water. Ellie insisted she stay in the boat — that is until it got into the current. I yelled at her to go to shore, and like a good dog, she did. The moment Ellie stepped out of the boat, however, she sunk like a rock and I had to go in to retrieve her. Poor Ellie.
Yes, Ellie is definitely not Bailey. But it's for the best, really. I get freaked out looking at ghosts — and trying to relive good memories can be bad for the soul.