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Summer Vacation July 6 Winner 2015

How I Spent My Summer Vacation Essay Winner

By Galina Espinoza

To look at our dogs, you wouldn’t think either of them was much of a swimmer.

Guinness, our five-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi, is shaped like a torpedo; all his weight is in his head and his haunches, which means if you put him in water he’s dragged down on both ends. And did I mention his legs? Let’s just say they are short — so short that in order for him to stay afloat mere paddling won’t do; instead, he has to rotate his legs like an eggbeater and hope for the best.

Then there’s Goldie, our two-year-old rescue mutt, who could be a mix of any number of breeds — all of them clearly of nervous stock, given the way she trembles at the slightest sound or erupts into full-on shaking when confronted with anything other than the safety of her own bed. How could such a dog ever screw up the courage to run into a rushing current?

Yet swimmers is exactly what Guinness and Goldie are. And so we spent our summer vacation in Woodstock, where — as is true of most of the Hudson Valley — there are lakes and creeks aplenty. But what makes Woodstock unique, and the perfect place for our pups, are the swimming holes, which rank among some of the best in New York State.

For five days over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Guinness and Goldie dove into cool whorls of water. Sometimes, we’d have them fetching twigs and bringing them back to us on shore; other times, they were content just to wade in up to their necks and cool off. But the best moments were when the sight of a small patch of rocky beach got them tugging at their leashes, desperate to be free, floating, weightless. We’d watch them go in, side-by-side, swimming their own circular patterns, eyes fixed on us as if saying, “Look at me! Look what I can do!”

Because of course, neither of them should be able to do what they do in water. And yet come summer, there is nowhere else they would rather be.

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