Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Beach is the Best

Yesterday we went to the beach. This wasn't any ordinary trip to the beach, it was our almost-annual beach trip with some friends, two of whom are Canadians who make it a priority to visit Oregon's beautiful beaches on every trip out here.

Remy and Kirby haven't been to the beach for a while. Between work on weekdays and the whole process of packing up the final items at our former house and getting it ready to sell, we just haven't been feeling like we could take a day off for a beach trip. That's a shame. Oregon's beaches are so lovely in the summertime. They're also filled with people. So we all picked a Tuesday, hoping it would offer that perfect mix of being able to take a day off and getting the weekend tourists out of the picture.

Great strategy. We left early and when we got to Indian Beach there weren't very many people there and no other dogs. It was mostly us, a handful of intrepid early risers and a bunch of surfers taking advantage of yesterday's big waves.

After making sure there were no major obstacles to us removing the leashes, we let the dogs off. Remy, Kirby and our friends' dog Vito took off in fits of joy, chasing after thrown balls, running through the surf (though Kirby, being the terrier-type he is, wouldn't go in past his knees).

Remy's first definitive act at the beach was to storm a crumbling sand castle and claim it as his own.

Then Remy noticed something...dark, human figures bobbing on the top of the waves a ways from shore. Now THIS was interesting. (We usually go to long beaches without a lot of big waves, so he had never seen surfers before.) Remy had to go investigate. He launched himself into the surf and swam out, braving the breakers, to greet the surfers.

Fortunately, the first surfers he came upon were dog-friendly and they gave him a happy greeting. Satisfied, he decided surfers were OK and he could leave them to their business. He proceeded to body surf his way back through the waves and rejoined our group. He spent the rest of the morning fetching bumpers and balls, approaching friendly people and attempting to climb barnacle-covered rocks (not cool). I think he learned that lesson pretty quickly and amazingly his paws, now sufficiently calloused, didn't seem much worse for the wear.

What was really fun was seeing just how much in common Remy, a young adult Griff, had in common with our friend Emerson, who is a tall, athletic 16-year-old. I swear, those two were like twin brothers of different species. They both had no problem braving the cold Pacific waters and spent most of the day running around, tumbling in the surf and climbing things.

At one point Remy caught sight of some small children walking up the beach with their parents. Putting on his full body wag, he approached them (Remy loves children and becomes gleeful at the sight of them or the sound of children playing.) Unfortunately, the parents were NOT friendly. They grabbed the kids and hid them behind their legs and started shooing Remy away before he even had a chance to approach the cute little child in the pink hoodie and her big brother. Remy had a toy in his mouth that, I'm sure, he intended to show the little girl in the pink hoodie, but instead, recognizing he wasn't wanted (this is progress) he gave a muffled bark and turned away.

Editorial Pause: I'm sure those people had their reasons. Perhaps the parents had had bad encounters with dogs on beaches before. I'm sure a lot of people do. I get that. But there's always a little piece of me that becomes sad when I see parents instilling fear and keeping their children from having any sort of healthy relationship with dogs. Those kids will encounter dogs their entire lives and mommy won't be there to protect them. I just hope they get over their parents some day. There are certainly unfriendly dogs in the world. But when a happy, scruffy Griff comes at you with a full body wag and a big orange toy in his mouth, that should be your cue that this dog's most likely OK. The way I see it, teaching kids that ALL dogs are scary probably isn't a wise thing if you want your children to grow into well-adjusted adults.

In any case, I have to say, I was proud of Remy for recognizing that not all people want wags and sloppy dog kisses and friendly toy-sharing. He's finally old enough to understand that. And I feel a lot better about taking him to the beach now.

I'm focusing on Remy, as Kirby is an experienced beach dog. Kirby was, of course, a little herder the whole time. At one point I had to turn back to go pick up a poopy bag I had set down and, seeing that I was leaving the pack, Kirby had to accompany me and try to guide me back to safety. He succeeded. Job done. It was a good day for Kirby.

Vito, a Lagotto (Italian Water Dog) was in heaven, of course, and he and Remy had a great time playing in the surf, stealing each other's toys and getting as wet and sandy as caninely possible.

Yes, it was a good day all around. And the people had fun too.

1 comment:

lauren said...

Very nice blog. Loved your description. . . felt I was there!

Great photos, too.

Lauren M