funny story short stories

“Tuff,” a dog without a paddle

As I have suggested before, I have had many furry friends in my lifetime. I try once in a while to bring out some of the crazy stories that each of my pets has blessed me with. This story is about my dog, “Tuff.” He was of the Boxer breed. Although I only had him for a few years before he passed, we became fast friends, and I truly enjoyed his companionship.

Tuff came into our family as a small pup but soon became an adult-sized dog who was a puppy at heart. He and my other dog, “Cooter,” were great friends. Before you ask, yes, Cooter is the Labrador retriever that is in the picture with me on the author’s page of this website. I have stories about Cooter as well, but for now, I will focus on a specific time with Tuff, although Cooter was there as well.

When I would go out and play with my two dogs, Tuff would get so excited that he couldn’t stand still. It was really funny to see him turn from head to tail in a standing position. He wasn’t one to run in circles that way. Instead, he just turns from side to side, with his head ending close to his cropped tail. Back and forth, he would turn. My wife and I remembered how they always taught kids about the alphabet on Sesame Street, so we would tease that he was making the capital “U.” As Cooter would run back and forth chasing the ball we would throw for him, Tuff would run a little way and do his Capital U impressions. We would laugh as we spent time yelling, “Go get the ball, Cooter! Then laugh more as we would say, “And here’s Tuff showing us the capital U!”

The author (Billy Scaggs) with his boxer Tuff (as a puppy).
“Tuff” as a puppy posing with me

This brings back great memories for me. There was a time when our two companions got into trouble with the law, and as Tuff held his ground and scared the officers, Cooter was evading capture. This part of their story will be told at a later date. I want to focus instead on why the title of this post is so important.

We decided one day to take our furry friends to the river so they could run free and have some well-deserved playtime. Having spent most of their two-year-old lives living in our backyard was boring for our beloved pets. They deserved a vacation of sorts, and the river would be perfect, or so we thought at the time. Cooter, being of the retriever breed, was built for the water. Although both dogs were very muscular in stature, there was a difference in their body makeup that we didn’t think of beforehand. Tuff was not built for the water, and we found this out the hard way. We loaded the dogs in the back of my pickup, and off we went. Both of our furry friends were having the time of their lives. It’s funny how much a dog enjoys riding in the back of a truck.

I pulled my pickup down to an area by the Gila River that was away from other people who were also enjoying the day at the river. We didn’t want to keep the dogs leashed the whole time, so we had to be far away from others to achieve this. It would be hard for the dogs to enjoy the river fully if they had to stay on leashes. When we found the spot we were looking for, we turned our friends loose. It was so great to see them running around and truly enjoying life! My wife and I walked down to the water’s edge and looked around. I made the comment that the water was still and deep enough to do some catfishing. Our two companions were running around crazily and finally headed at full speed toward us. Cooter never slowed down and leaped into the water about ten feet from the edge. He swam all over at a great amount of speed. Tuff, however, stopped at the water’s edge and looked around. He whined a little and looked back at us. It was as if he were asking permission to get in the water. I said, “Go ahead, buddy, jump in.” He walked back and forth, sticking his nose in the water, but was afraid to go in.

My wife and I looked at each other, both of us thinking how strange it was that he didn’t want to go in. Finally, I reached down, slapped the water, and told him it was okay. A few minutes went by, and we decided that he wasn’t going in. Just about that time, Tuff decided it was okay, and with an awkward jump, he splashed into the water about three feet from the bank. He disappeared! No bubbles, no splashing, nothing but the smooth, silky water that completely engulfed my dog! My wife looked at me and, with a shaky voice, asked, “Is he okay?” “Of course, he’s okay, sweetheart,” I answered, “He’s just checking out the catfish,” I said with a half grin. After thirty seconds went by, I started thinking that maybe my smart aleck answer wasn’t the best. Another thirty seconds, and I’m starting to think, “Maybe I need to go in after him?” Just about that time, his head popped above the water by the bank, and he was splashing around like a drowning man! Oh, crap! We both reached down to help him. I grabbed his collar, and my wife grabbed one of his front paws. We helped him out. He came up onto the bank and shook off the killer water that attacked him. Then, with relief on his face, he turned to one side and gave his signature move, the capital U. We both breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that he was okay. I decided that a boxer in the river is where that term came from: “A dog without a paddle!

This was very scary when it happened, but it became funny in the aftermath. If I may make a suggestion, if you own a boxer, it might be a good idea to put floatation devices on your dog if you take them to a river or lake. Although they can swim, it’s more of an extreme sport for them!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my furry friends. I plan to write more about them in the future. I would love to hear about your pet’s adventures if you want to tell them. Take care of your pets and yourselves. Remember, we are all in this together.