I can tell Mike is nervous about making a good impression on our new client so I am feeling on edge too.
I hope I won’t have to get a bath. I love water but hold the soap.
I watch Mike pile up the paraphernalia he would be packing into the Jeep. Hmm, it looks like we’re going boating. This day might not be so bad after all. I started to get excited and I even helped by carrying what I could in my mouth.
My first load out to the Jeep, I can see the boat is already hooked up. YES. This day just got a whole lot better.
We have the boat in the water with everything in place on board, when the client arrives. Mike throws him a lifejacket and we’re ready to go.
“I thought this was going to be about business. What’s with the dog?”
“His name is Deke and he’s my partner,” said Mike. If Mike had hackles, they’d be rising. “When we’re working, he goes wherever I go.”
The man sighed. “Very well.” He squatted in front of me, reached out a hand to pet my head, and said, “Hi Deke, I’m Jim.”
About a half hour later, Mike drops anchor, offers Jim refreshment and they start discussing the case and Mike’s terms. I’m starting to dose off when I hear a splash.
Whoa! A fish!!! Before I knew what had happened, I heard another splash and realized it was me. Oops, that can’t be good. The client’s eyes narrowed and his brows furrowed into a unibrow. “Just what does your dog think he’s doing out there?” he growled.
Mike turned to look at me like he was surprised to see me in the water and seriously considering how in the world I might have gotten in it. “I have no idea what he’s thinking, but I think he’s doing the dog paddle. Yes,” he added thoughtfully,” It’s definitely the dog paddle. It’s the only stroke he knows.”
After what seemed like several tense minutes, but was only seconds, the man guffawed and slapped Mike on the back. Mike calmly reached for the boat hook, snagged the handle in my life jacket and pulled me in.
“Looks like you’ve done that a few times before,” Jim laughed.
By the disappointed look on Mike’s face, I suspected I’d screwed up. He confirmed it, when he put me in a down stay. Softly, he said, “I need to know you’re safe. Please behave yourself.”
He couldn’t have made me feel worse. I was worried he might start questioning his ability to depend on me when he needed me the most on the job. I licked his hand in apology and he patted me on the head.
He seated himself beside Jim and described my water retrieval skills as if this scene had been planned. Jim seemed impressed and I finally realized the importance of working together and depending on each other.