When I reported to work at Billington Sea Kayak this past spring I was greeted by the shop’s newest staff member: Morton the Dog. Morton, a black lab-vizsla mix, had just celebrated his first birthday and he was holding on to his puppy-hood with all of his might! When we arrive in the morning Morton comes running down the hill from the shop with such speed and reckless abandon that we’re always surprised that he doesn’t go shooting off the end of the docks! He further entertains the dock staff by “hunting” for squirrels, snatching away our sandwiches and socks, and wrestling us for the sticks as we try to teach him to fetch (he hasn’t quite grasped the concept yet!)
My favorite part of watching Morton grow up this summer was seeing him fall in love with the water. At first he was more than a little timid about getting wet. He didn’t mind walking around in the shallows too much but he’d stop as soon as the water touched his belly. When it came to jumping off the dock and going for a swim; forget about it! No force of nature was going to make him take that leap of faith! This just wasn’t going to cut it if he wanted to grow up to be an official member of the dock staff and it’s almost as if he knew that. Whenever we’d shove off from the dock in our kayaks he’d sit there with this inquisitive look in his eye as he watched us paddle away. We knew it was only a matter of time!
Then the day came….I was about 100ft away from the docks testing out one of the new stand up paddle boards when Morton came running down the hill. I expected him to slide to a stop before the edge of the docks but that didn’t happen this time. Instead, without an ounce of hesitation, he launched himself into the water and swam straight for me. He covered the distance like a little pro and threw his front paws up onto the board as if to say “Wow, I did it! Now get me out of here!” After I helped him up onto the board he walked around a little bit to check things out and then settled down near the front for the ride back to the dock. From that point on it seemed like we couldn’t get on a paddle board without Morton there wanting to come along for the ride!
Morton has always been an extremely photogenic animal and he’s been the subject of our photo of the week at least once before. However, this particular shot of Morton looking out across the pond toward his namesake Morton Park proved to be highly elusive. It took almost 6 months but I finally caught him sitting long enough to snap off this picture. I don’t think I could have imagined it coming out any better!
Notes: This photo was taken with my Canon Rebel T2i DSLR camera equipped with an 18-55mm lens. The camera was set to aperture priority with f/5.0 and ISO 100. The focal length was 29mm. The image contains zero Photoshop aside from the addition of the watermark!