Jetta, a 6-year-old German shepherd, is pulled on a kayak on Wilson Pond in Wilton on Thursday by her owner, Kathy Leonards of Wilton.

WILTON —  Jetta, a 6-year-old black German shepherd, looked content as she soaked up the sun Thursday morning on a kayak gliding over Wilson Pond.

Jetta wore a life jacket to keep her safe.

Jetta’s owner, Kathy Leonards, of Wilton attached a rope on the front of the kayak to the back of her bathing suit and swam, pulling the kayak and dog.

Leonards swims along the shoreline for half an hour each day with the dog in tow. Sometimes Jetta sits on top of an overturned large tube for the ride.

More often than not a loon will escort them through the water, Leonards said.

Once the two are back on shore, Jetta’s reward is to chase sticks.


“She loves to chase a stick,” Leonards said, as she threw one into the water for her to fetch.

Jetta returned with the stick of wood in her mouth and dropped it near Leonards, who threw another one into the pond.

“I have three sticks going on,” she said.

Once Jetta retrieves a stick, Leonards throws another into the water.

She keeps extra sticks in her car.  

David Rackliffe, owner of Von Woden Kennels in Weld, got the dog in Belgium, Leonards said.


“When I got her she didn’t even like the water,” she said. “She would just go in ankle-deep.”

Now Jetta is swimming in water over her head.

The dog lets Leonards know when she is tired of swimming. Jetta trotted out of the water and up into the woods with a stick still in her mouth near the boat launch.

Leonards said the dog expects her to go find the stick, so she got another one from her car.

“She is a wonderful companion,” she said. “She goes everywhere with me, except in the summer when it is too hot.”

Jetta, a 6-year-old German Shepherd, swims toward shore and his owner, Kathy Leonards of Wilton, at Wilson Pond in Wilton.

Kathy Leonards of Wilton guides her kayak with her German Shepherd, Jetta, in it towards shore Thursday in Wilson Pond in Wilton.

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