The history of swimming is marked by truly heroic acts of individual achievement. The world will long remember Florence Chadwick, who in 1950 became the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions, setting new records each time. Chadwick’s attempts to swim from California’s coastline to Catalina Island were initially stymied by thick fog, but she eventually made the crossing by picturing the shoreline in her mind. That kind of mental determination is also evident in another, soon-to-be-historic swimmer. A French bulldog from Halifax, Nova Scotia, has proven that one does not even need water to swim. In a 31-second video posted to YouTube, the indefatigable animal paddles gracefully around a completely empty plastic kiddie pool, seemingly oblivious to the fact that it contains not a drop of water. Apparently, the pool’s blue color and wavy design were sufficient to create the optical illusion. The colorful fish painted on the floor of the pool probably helped, too.
This wonderfully delusional swimmer is one of a pair of French bulldogs whose owners have set up a YouTube channel and an Instagram account in their honor. Both are well worth checking out, since the dogs are dangerously adorable and prone to tomfoolery and shenanigans. The “swimming” video, however, represents the height of both cuteness and Miss Havisham-like insanity. It raises all sorts of psychological and philosophical questions, too. The very nature of reality is in doubt here. Does the dog know or care that the pool is empty? Most people will look at the video and see merely a “crazy” animal crawling around a dry, plastic basin. It seems the height of folly. But are these pragmatists merely seeing the world in too narrow a way? Does this bulldog know something that people do not? It’s something to consider. All the video truly needs at this point is a thematically appropriate soundtrack. Maybe this will do:
Or this, perhaps?