The trips to the Chemung River are specifically related to the disability. When Ellie and I walk through the street of Elmira, I walk with a cane, and Ellie walks with a choke-chain. We call it "Walking Pretty." She stays at my side and we try to move briskly along, to get off the hot streets in the summer, or to get in from the bitter cold in the winter.
On the banks of the Chemung River, Ellie is free to poke and hunt, and I am able to take pictures. We keep the leash handy for encounters with other human-dog pairs.
Yet I stress that the River is dangerous. Ellie does not swim in the river where it is deep and flowing, and I do not wade. Well, almost never.
Ellie is allowed to swim where the river is fairly still and shallow. The proof of this is her tail: up when she wades, and lower when she wades.
I would never risk my little buddy's safety.