Just about a year ago, my 3-year-old yellow lab, Mikey, came into my life. His beautiful, golden eyes looked at me through the glass panels of my front door.
His owners didn't want him anymore, even though they'd only had Mikey for three weeks. They gladly accepted my offer to take him.
Mikey and I hit it off from the beginning. He was so intelligent and needed little training. I would take him out to our pool and he'd gently slip into the pool. Not a ripple did he make.
One fall day, snowflakes were swirling and it was rather cold - in fact, it was extremely cold! My sister, Carla Myers, and I didn't mind, though, as we were dressed warm.
We got out of the car with leashes on both our dogs - hers a small black pug and my lab. I felt this was a real treat - my Mikey in the wild, open waters of Howard Dam, a lab's dream come true.
I still shudder remembering that day. As I let Mikey out, his leash wrapped double around my hand. My Mikey, always cool, calm and controlled, turned into a beast and shot off toward the dock, which stood about four feet above the water, with little pebbles lining the path to the dock.
Because his leash was wrapped twice around me hand, with absolutely no slacking ... well, I understood at that moment, I was about to take a unwanted swim.
Mikey dragged me down those tiny little pebbles. I still wonder how I stayed on my feet. At the start of the dock, I jumped onto it with both feet running, thinking, "My God, this is going to be very cold water!"
I sailed into the cold air and hit the water. The last thing I heard was my sister laughing uncontrollably. Do you know how muffled laughter sounds underwater? Like bubbles.
Along with some unsavory language, I thought, "Well, buddy boy, you're dragging me back." And he did drag me up on the bank, while my sweatshirt rode up to parts unmentionable and scraped my belly bloodthirsty red. I was dripping wet, muddy and extremely upset, thinking, "Never again!"
As I dragged my aching bloody, muddy body behind the steering wheel, Carla looked at me and said, "Oh, Carole, I always have so much fun with you!'
Gerst and Mikey live in Milesburg.