Dog Swims Across Lake To Campground Every Day To Make New Friends

“He’s always so proud of himself when he reaches the shoreline ... as if he’s saying, ‘Tada! Look, I’ve arrived!’"

Amanda Vermeer used to work at and now frequents a campground on a lake, and whenever she or anyone else there sees a dog in the distance, swimming happily across the lake, no one is surprised or alarmed. That’s just Thunder, and he does it almost every single day. 

Thunder is around 10 years old now, but for as long as anyone can remember, he’s been taking daily swims from his house to the campground on the other side of the lake. It’s his routine now, and no matter how hard his family tries to stop him, he still always finds a way to make it happen. 

“I truly believe that the swim across the lake is his favorite part of the whole endeavor, but on the camp side of the lake, I think he really just enjoys wandering around from campsite to campsite saying hi to all the people and seeing how far he can get before getting caught,” Vermeer told The Dodo. “Sometimes people give him little scraps of food, so I’m sure that’s a bonus in his mind, too.” 

Amanda Vermeer

Once someone notices Thunder, they always give his dad a call to let him know that Thunder did it again. At this point, all of the locals and campground regulars have Thunder’s dad’s number saved in their phones. They all know they’re going to need it pretty regularly. 

“If his owner doesn’t get a call first, when he notices that he’s gone again (sometimes Thunder sneaks out of the house), he hops in his truck and patrols around the lake looking for him,” Vermeer said. “He can usually be found at the campground, so that’s the first part of his search. Thunder doesn’t swim home — he has too much fun on his adventures.” 

Thunder’s family has tried different things to get him to stay on his side of the lake, but at this point, they’ve just kind of accepted that it’s a part of who Thunder is. His dad once said in a text to Vermeer, “I’ll never stop him from swimming … It's what he loves. I would never take that away from him. I just wish I could teach him to swim home.”

cute dog
Amanda Vermeer

Thunder seems to know that eventually, he’s going to get caught at the campground and his dad is going to come and pick him up. It’s almost as if it’s a game to him. He swims across the lake, then tries to see how long he can hang out at the campground before someone catches him. So far, he’s got quite the winning streak going. 

“He’s always so proud of himself when he reaches the shoreline and comes out of the water, as if he’s saying, ‘Tada! Look, I’ve arrived!’ He definitely likes to do his own thing, so he’s never thrilled when we catch him and clip a leash on him,” Vermeer said. “He gives us the side-eye and whines because we stopped his adventure short, but that can usually be remedied with some good pets and some scratches under his chin and behind his ears. Whenever he hears his owner’s truck coming, his tail starts wagging and he gets excited, like, ‘Hey, that’s my dad!’” 

cute dog
Amanda Vermeer

Swimming across the lake is definitely Thunder’s favorite part of his day. He’s a lake dog through and through, and his family, plus everyone else who lives along the lake, has just accepted that that’s who Thunder is.

“He’s been swimming across almost every day for seven-plus summers; at this point I think it’d be unusual for Thunder NOT to swim across,” Vermeer said.

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