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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bailey - Cuffy Learns to Swim - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Have you ever wondered how dogs can naturally "dog paddle"?  On VetStreet, Dr. Marty Becker answers the question  "Do All Dogs Know How to Swim" in depth.  Doctor Becker points out while the dog paddle instinct will start naturally, how long they can stay afloat, enjoy doing it, or even are safe may vary.  This has certainly been true with my Husky/Malamute.

As this veterinarian points out, dogs with the hardest time swimming "are typically those with large, heavy chests in relation to their hindquarters, and they often have short muzzles."  That malamute chest and short muzzle may not be as extreme as his example of Bulldogs being the worst, sinking like rocks!, but it explains some things I've seen.

Oakland County Parks offers the Orion Oaks Dog Park.  I wish I had discovered it earlier for my past dogs, but we love its 24 acres and the trails of the surrounding 916 acre Orion Oaks Park which includes Lake Sixteen.  The lake can be accessed from the boat launch, but the dog park includes a dog dock for dog swimming only.  My "malamutt" may wade, but I just couldn't get him to join the other dogs cooling off in the lake.  He's so aware of me, I knew I could never toss him in like some people did.  A woman there had good luck with her husky, so I asked if she'd toss him.  SPLASH!  In he went and when he came up I could read sheer PANIC on his face!  "I'M DROWNING!!!"  It was written all over it.  He paddled, but didn't change his opinion.  I started walking on the dock towards the area where the water became shallower.  He followed me, still begging me to save him.  Following and paddling,  his feet touched rocks and he was able to get out.  We never repeated that experiment.

It reminded me of the time I saw a book of dog crests or coat of arms.  Yeahrightsure.  I doubted it, but checked the Alaskan Malamute's information.  I can't seem to find the book listed online, but my memory of the shield has a diagonal line across it with polar bears on it.  Again I thought Yeahrightsure, but then I read about how they are noted for two things, a willingness to fight away polar bears and sensitivity to breaking ice.  I can definitely say the breed is generally peaceful enough -- I've heard children may be bundled in with them for a warm "three dog night."  This doesn't include anything threatening their territory or people, so I can easily picture them sacrificing themselves to get a polar bear away.  (At the dog park this doesn't include seeing other dogs as threat, but they will fight back if attacked.)  Lake Sixteen freezes over in winter, complete with ice fishing.  I've gone out on it with my dog and another friend and her husky, but only if I'm positive I won't have to test that natural sensitivity to breaking ice.

Today's story of little Cuffy Bear takes place when his curiosity takes him onto spring ice and ...

Cuffy's adventure ended safely.  My own mother was tossed into water with the idea she would "dog paddle" and learn to swim.  Fortunately she didn't die since, as this story mentions, children aren't like bears who instinctively know how to swim.  It wasn't until she made sure of my own swimming lessons was she willing to learn the basics at the Y.W.C.A., but, like my dog, it was never a pleasure.

May your summer adventures and stories all end safely, too.  It's a busy time, so next week I currently plan to post yet another of Cuffy's adventures.

This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  

At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it. 

Other Public Domain story resources I recommend -
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key.
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.
Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
  • The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
               - David K. Brown -
               - Karen Chace -
               - Richard Martin -
               - Spirit of Trees -
           - Story-Lovers - is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at and put in in the search box.  I recommend using the latest "snapshot" on November 2016
               - Tim Sheppard -
               -  World of Tales -

    You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  For an example of using the "Wayback Machine", list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is gone, but using the Wayback Machine you can still see it.  At the Wayback Machine I put in his site's address, then chose 2006 since it was a later year and clicked until I reached the Library at  

    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin -  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a., when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

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