My wife and I were with Julia, our French bulldog, in a backyard that Julia wasn’t familiar with. Julia is nearly blind, so we give her auditory cues to help with navigation (put a collar on her and she just sits). It was fairly late – we were out there so Julia could “do her business” and we could all go to bed.
We plopped her down in the middle of the backyard and waited as she trolled around the yard. She got near the edge of the yard, we called her back, and she promptly came to our voice as always. Before long she was back at the edge of the yard and we called her back again. For the first time ever, she decided to take a detour to the left first and stumbled headlong into the deep end of the swimming pool.
I’d heard that an English bulldog’s head is so heavy that they can’t swim, they just sink. That thought crossed my mind as I was running the 4 feet or so to the pool’s edge. I also thought, Julia’s a French bulldog, not English, and very strong, I’ll bet she can swim freestyle as well as Michael Phelps.
Within a couple of seconds I was poolside watching Julia sink headfirst, making absolutely no effort to swim or anything. She was just frozen, sinking. The scene from the end of the Titanic when Leonardo DiCaprio is dead, sinking into the Atlantic flashed through my mind. As I grabbed her rear legs and pulled her out, I was in a panic.
Out she came and we put her on her feet. Apparently, she managed to get a full breath of air before she went under and took on no water at all. In fact she was fine, and acted as if the whole thing was planned as a way to cool her off.
And that was the end of her Olympic ambition as a freestyle swimmer.