Motor-butt, wearing his hydrofoil-device, motored 3/4 of the way across the pond and back three times this afternoon.
He’s thrilled with himself and is now telling anyone who will listen that he swam fifty miles and saved me from many evil and nefarious underwater dangers.
To explain the hilariously awesome PFD and the motor-butt phenomenon:
In addition to a sometimes-painful case of arthritis born of being a nine year old life-long athlete, Gilly has some circulation damage to his back left leg from his ’08 accident, as well as some remaining scar tissue. This can result in weakness and quick exhaustion of that leg even when he’s super-fit — weakness he ignores because he is Gilly, which then causes him to hurt himself.
Hydrotherapy is good for him on all fronts.
However, because he is Gilly, his idea of a relaxing swim is 70MPH sprints and cannonballs into the water, followed by a Michael Phelps impersonation, followed by another sprint and splat.
So last year I figured 3 things:
1) I would get him swimming back and forth across a mid-sized pond, which would keep him exercising the leg in a no-impact way,
2) a canine PFD would keep him safe if the leg did cramp up, and
3) it would also slow him down.
The first two things were true. But #3? Not so much.
A PFD, it turns out, turns him into a hydrofoil. A motor-butt. He’s perched high on the waves skimming like the fastest commuter-boat: you can practically hear the purr of an engine.
But it’s all no-impact and steady movement vs. jerky muscle-tearing stuff, and when I’m swimming with him it seems to work psychologically the same way a backpack does in the woods: “I have a JOB! To swim in a straight line! Or at least to swim in front of you, weaving and looping in a threatening manner to repel sharks!”
This sense of responsibility for being an advance-guard also seems to prevent much of the “I am a lifeguard and you are drowning and I must save you by drowning you!” dialogue we sometimes have otherwise, which is nice.
Best of all, he seems to absolutely love the sensation.
If you have a sporting crackhead who needs to practice safer swimming at home, I recommend a PFD.
Also: the purple flowers! And the handle! He looks like a happy, chic little suitcase.
Cuteness to die for.