Our 90-pound Labra-mutt has a jumping-phobia.
"What's the deal," I asked as dozens of other hounds bounded, splashed and doggie-paddled their way past.
It was a pool party for dogs and our big lug had turned into a poolside lump.
Perfectly happy trotting just thigh-high near the baby end of the local swimming hole with the designer dogs, it was the diving Dachshund that sent my male counterpart over the edge.
Grabbing the leash, The Man had decided today was the day he would cure Ace's fear of jumping into the water.
It's not that Ace doesn't like to swim, once he inches his way in step-by-step, he's practically a furry fish. Jumping in and out of the back of a truck for a car ride? Piece of cake. Jumping into a pool or lake? Not so much.
"Come on Ace, it's easy," he said patting the water near the three-foot ledge. "Look that dog did it, so did that one."
While not the most graceful of doggie belly-flops, the other dogs were schooling Ace in pool parties 101.
Holding a treat as far over the water as his arm could reach, The Man pleaded with Ace to jump in.
Still dry, I begged Ace not to make us look like the over-protective parents sending their child to an advanced pool party with arm floaters and an inner tube.
After a few questionable flops for treats he was beginning to show progress.
As a few designer dogs paddled their way past, showing their bravery, it was time to take it up a notch.
I waded in just above the knees, throwing all concern for my work attire aside.
Nose to nose with my stubborn King Ace, we sized each other up.
"OK Ace, let's do this," I said, hands on my hips 'cause I meant it.
Pulling a few treats from my pocket, I slapped my thighs and in my best doggie-mommy voice gave him a, "come here boy. You can do it. Come to Momma."
Whoosh! Kuuuurrr plunk!
Within a split second his nose was pushed firmly on my tush, tail wagging under water.
"He did it!" I shouted, flinging my arms, and water, into the sky.
Ignoring all the new friends he could be making, Ace's entire focus was on my butt.
Jump in, get a treat, climb out. And so it went, until the treats were gone.
Losing interest in my rear end, he hopped out and jogged across dry land to the zero-depth entry side of the pool.
"Get it Stella," The Man said pointing to a floating stick.
While the Labra-mutt King Ace explored the shoreline, our Shih-Tzu was taking on water, literally.
After water toys and sticks failed to entice Ace to make the jump into the lake, we turned our focus to stubborn Stella.
Not one to let a good stick get away, she flung her little 9-pound body into the water.
The pony-tail on top of her head the only thing dry, she carried the stick up the rocks and dropped it in front of The Man.
We had found our water dog.