Beach Ball Brain

IMG_2625Dogs and beaches: it’s a beautiful thing.

This Saturday, Rain got to spend most of her day on a trip to the beach. At 8am I sent her off with my mom, then enjoyed a couple hours of peace before heading to yoga class. In the afternoon, Steven and I headed westward for the coast, stopping to check out the Pirate Festival in Rockaway before picking up Rain for the rest of the weekend.

In the interest of time we skipped visiting Pronto Pup with the mechanical corndog you can ride outside. Next time, mechanical corndog. I’ll be back.

My mom took Rain out to the beach earlier in the day. During that visit, my mom displayed a huge vote of confidence in Rain’s abilities by letting her play off leash “in the wild” for the first time. (I do this every day, but my mom has been less confident about this, for good reason.) They played ball without any incidents. Hopefully this positive experience will mean more time together in the future! Because it is clear that Rain loves the beach.

Once Steven and I arrived to pick her up, all of us headed to the beach together and spent an hour or two enjoying the afternoon wind…I mean sun.

If you’ve never been to the Oregon Coast, it’s a special beast as far as beaches go. The water is always very cold and it’s often very windy. The Oregon weather means that there is only a couple of months per year when the beaches might be sunny—even in a single day, a particular coastal inlet may see frequent changes in weather conditions. That said, all Oregon waterways are considered traveling thoroughfares, which means that beaches in Oregon are all public. Oregonians love their beaches.

Just like last summer when Rain went to the beach for the first time, she was obsessed with playing ball. Rain leapt over logs, crash-landing in the sand where her ball had stopped. It was like an homage to Oregon’s exploding whale! Then she’d find the ball and run it back for another go.

If I didn’t pick up the ball right away, this would happen:

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Before long her mouth had clumps of sand forming stalactites on her gums, and her little black nose looked rough and brown.

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Rain had beach ball brain. Eventually I had to hide the ball from her. If she knows where the ball is in my bag she’ll claw at the bag and stick her nose in all the pockets in an attempt to get it back. Steven had to create a distraction so I could hide it and we could enjoy other beachy activities.

Once free from the ball, Rain got to sniff around the sand and find lots of interesting things…including a dead gull that she promptly started rubbing her back on. (Good thing I had planned to bathe her the next day, eh?) When I walked her to the water, she even put her toes in of her own accord, unlike her first visit last year. Steven and I took turns running around the beach, suddenly changing directions, in order to trigger her herding instincts. She ran like a locomotive at times!

Of course beach time is always too short. We needed to pack up and start heading back home, and Rain was a willing passenger. During our next stop Rain got to spend a few minutes sniffing around the heart of Nehalem, including a small dock on the Nehalem River.

Rain seemed calmer than usual the next morning. If visiting the beach can do that, we’ll be sure to take her as often as possible this summer!

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