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Posts Tagged ‘dog on the beach’

Cooper was the retriever of the family. He’d retrieve anything, anywhere, for as long as you’d throw something. He lived to retrieve. Even on his last evening, he was retrieving.

Tooey will retrieve, especially if she’s going after birds on a hunting trip, but she’s never really enjoyed retrieving for the fun of it. It’s part of her job as a hunting dog, but not something she would recommend one do for fun.

Unless we’re at the beach.

Today, while Russ and Carlin are out hunting birds in Montana, I took Tooey out west to the beach. This particular spot is divided by a river, with a long sandy beach along the ocean. It’s a beach Tooey knows, and was the spot where she first saw and swam in the ocean.

As soon as she hopped out of the car, she knew exactly where she was. Tooey does not usually pull on the leash, but today was an exception. This is the beach and it’s time to go swimming!

Tooey_LeapingGood thing I brought the wubba along. We got to the river bank first, and she started barking at me. Throw it! Throw it!

Tooey_retrieve_clouds

After about 45 minutes of solid toss-retrieve, toss-retrieve, we moved on the the ocean with its waves and swells.

Tooey_beach

There I threw that wubba for another solid 1-1/2 hours. She brought it to me, and then ran back out into the surf, waiting for me to throw it again. She loves the surf, and when particularly big waves came rolling in, she’d crash through them, grab the wubba, and then body surf her way back in to shore. People would stop to watch, ask me what kind of dog she is, and smile at her obvious joy.

Tooey_retrieve

After about 2-1/2 hours of solid wubba-throwing, I was tired and hungry. Time to go get some lunch and then home for a bath before dark. But you can bet Tooey didn’t want to leave. If she could speak, I know she would have been channeling her inner Cooper, saying, “Oh, do we have to leave? Can’t you throw it one more time?”

Tooey_wubba

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If one is in need of fun, and the day is sunny and warm, and you live near the west coast, and it’s a Monday off work, and you have a Favorite Photographer and a couple of Water-loving Spaniels who love to go along, where better to go play than the beach?

Just make sure you have a camera and toy to take along!

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More walking on the beach, more stick throwing, more swimming and body surfing, more stick retrieving, more watching the clouds, more rejoicing in the unexpectedly sunny weather: That’s how our last-day-of-September morning went. In one word: delightful.

Oooh! Is Trice getting a stick?

In the afternoon, we were joined by Dave and Liz, who live nearby, and their two hunting dogs, Maxie, the Standard Poodle, and Bugsie, the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. Together we walked the beach between Netarts and Oceanside, chatting about dogs, hunting, and good places to eat nearby.

What are you looking at?

Which one has chicken in her pocket?

Didn't we leave that stick somewhere around this rock?

The one picture we didn’t ever get (and really, it should have been a video anyway) was of Tooey teaching herself to bodysurf. She was absolutely fearless about throwing herself into oncoming waves to fetch the stick we’d thrown (there is a picture of that on yesterday’s entry), and then coming back in. On one of those trips, a wave took her over as she was swimming in, lifted her up, and carried her to shore.

Being lifted up startled her that first time, but after that, it looked for all the world as if she chose her exact moment to return to shore so that a wave would catch her and carry her in. She was so eager to repeat the ride that she crashed through the waves and beat Cooper to the stick almost every time — and that’s another first. In the past, Cooper has always gotten to the retrieve object first.

And then there’s Cooper’s game. Whenever we throw sticks on a sandy beach, Cooper takes a break from retrieving by playing this game he’s made up. He picks up the stick, runs around with it, and then drops it onto the sand. Then he leaps onto it, paws at it as if digging, and then throws the stick back between his hind legs. Then he turns around and, Surprise! There’s the stick! Oh boy! Whereupon he leaps on it again as if he’s just found it, and starts the game all over again.

Days like today remind me of some of the best reasons to have dogs. They have such fun with simple things like sticks, and are filled with such joy. I’ve watched them play for these 2 days, and I could keep watching them for many, many more days to come.

We’ll go home tomorrow. But I’ll remember these two days fondly, and plan to come back to the beach soon.

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We lucked out. Our late September day at the beach was sunny and warm. Just fine for throwing sticks into the Pacific ocean for two very eager Irish Water Spaniels.

Tooey and Cooper, with Trice throwing a stick toward Japan

Tooey and Cooper racing through the surf line

An Irish Water Spaniel or two swimming through the surf

Tooey crashing through a wave

Russ sending the dogs for more sticks

Admiring the view after a hard day at the ocean

After a day like today, I always think I must come back to the beach more often. I love it. The dogs love it. And it’s just been much too long since the last time, just about two years ago.

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Sometimes you first need the punchline, and then the full story:
092009_Life is Good

I’m sure you’ve had those weeks: everyone wanting something, some not coming through with commitments, others passing blame on to you, still others asking for what you can’t give. The whole “life isn’t fair” routine.

After one of those weeks, I think to myself — I have to do something fun. If I can find the time. There’s work. Then there’s all the household responsibilities: laundry, shopping, vacuuming, blah, blah, blah. But this morning, I decided that all that can wait.

But what to do? Well… Water has to be involved. Tooey has been to the river once, but not to the beach (as far as we know), and she’s never actually done more than jump in and wade. Cannon Beach, about 1-1/2 hours from Portland, has a wonderful policy — well-behaved dogs can run off leash. And it’s forecasted to be sunny and warm. And we have gas in the car. So off to the beach it is.

Here’s a taste of our day. First, the ocean:

Tooey, Haystack Rock, and Trice

Tooey, Haystack Rock, and Trice

Tooey running in the surf

Tooey running in the surf

Mmmm... kelp. Yummy

Mmmm... kelp. Yummy

Running, running

Running, running

Then, after a sandwich and ice cream cones, we moved on to Ecola Creek, a river that runs into the Pacific, just north of the town of Cannon Beach.

Hey! What kind of ducks are those?

Hey! What kind of ducks are those?

First actual swim (note those rear hips up and out at full extension -- so IWS-like)

First actual swim (note those rear hips up and out at full extension -- so IWS-like)

Looking for the frisbee under water

Looking for the frisbee under water -- it's down there somewhere

Once she got the hang of it, Tooey swam. We threw sticks, and then a found frisbee. The stick was easy to grab, but the frisbee was a bit more elusive. Even so, she swam out and searched, found the frisbee, and brought it in, just the way you saw it in the first picture. Life is good indeed.

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