CULTURE & ARTS

Shelter Dogs Get Swimming Lessons In Adorably Fetching Photos

Dogs need to learn water safety skills, too.

How could photos of cute dogs swimming get any better?

When they’re shelter dogs learning pool safety, duh.

Photographer and animal advocate Seth Casteel released a new set of photos this week from from a January swimming lesson he held with dogs up for adoption at animal rescue group spcaLA.

Mandy, a shepherd mix, getting a swimming lesson at spcaLA. Mandy has since been adopted.
Mandy, a shepherd mix, getting a swimming lesson at spcaLA. Mandy has since been adopted.

TV network Z Living took their own photos of the lesson to promote Casteel’s new show, “Finding Fido,”  which focuses on “matchmaking” people with adoptable dogs. Though Casteel does swim with dogs on the show, this particular lesson isn’t featured in the series.

Casteel, who has been photographing pets since around 2007, rocketed to fame in 2012, when his captivating shots of dogs swimming underwater went viral online. Through taking photos of dogs in the water, Casteel came to realize that though most dogs instinctively know how to “doggie paddle” when they get in the water, many canines still need some instruction in water safety. In particular, dogs can be confused by swimming pools, since they’re more difficult to exit than say, a lake.

Casteel helps little Salem get used to the water.
Casteel helps little Salem get used to the water.

“The dog has to understand that it’s not a natural body of water,” Casteel told The Huffington Post. “They see a pool and they don’t get it … they can’t just swim to the side and get out. They have to find the exit.”

Casteel also works with dogs who may not be used to swimming to get them more comfortable with the water.

“I love to see when a dog makes that transition, from ‘What’s going on?’ to, ‘Hey, we’re having fun,’” he said.

At his lesson for spcaLA, he also enlisted the help of Ricochet, an acclaimed surfing therapy dog. Ricochet’s calm and confident nature made her the perfect “role model” for dogs who might have felt a bit bewildered by the water at first, Casteel said.

Three of the dogs who participated in the spcaLA swim lesson have already been adopted, but three of them — Cloud, Salem and Harrod — are still looking for homes. You can find more information about those dogs and spcaLA here.

  • 1 Mandy
    Mandy, a shepherd mix, at her swimming lesson. She has since been adopted.
    Seth Casteel
    Mandy, a shepherd mix, at her swimming lesson. She has since been adopted.
  • 2 Crow
    Crow,  a hound mix, after his swimming lesson.
    Seth Casteel
    Crow,  a hound mix, after his swimming lesson.
  • 3 Salem and Casteel
    Casteel guides Salem in the pool
    Z Living Network
    Casteel guides Salem in the pool
  • 4 Mandy
    Mandy looks around underwater. 
    Seth Casteel
    Mandy looks around underwater. 
  • 5 Salem
    Salem, a little dog with a "big personality," at his swimming lesson.
    Seth Casteel
    Salem, a little dog with a "big personality," at his swimming lesson.
  • 6 Cloud
    Casteel with Cloud, an affectionate poodle mix who loves squeaky toys
    Z Living Network
    Casteel with Cloud, an affectionate poodle mix who loves squeaky toys
  • 7 Harrod
    Casteel helps "fearless" Harrod out of the pool on a ramp.
    Z Living Network
    Casteel helps "fearless" Harrod out of the pool on a ramp.
  • 8 Henry
    Henry at his lesson.
    Seth Casteel
    Henry at his lesson.
  • 9 Henry
    Henry, a lab mix, and Casteel in the pool.
    Z Living Network
    Henry, a lab mix, and Casteel in the pool.
  • 10 Mandy
    Mandy at her lesson.
    Seth Casteel
    Mandy at her lesson.
  • 11 Casteel and Henry
    Casteel gets ready to throw a ball for Henry.
    Z Living Network
    Casteel gets ready to throw a ball for Henry.
  • 12 North
    North, a sweet chihuahua mix who reportedly didn't care much for the water.
    Seth Casteel
    North, a sweet chihuahua mix who reportedly didn't care much for the water.

NOTE: This post was updated to reflect the fact that this particular swimming lesson does not appear in “Finding Fido.”

HuffPost

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