"Well," I replied, "if they're gonna get a bath, we may as well make them REALLY dirty first."
And that is how we decided to take the dogs to the beach last weekend.
Lyle took them rollerblading both Saturday and Sunday mornings. They were pretty pleased with their lives already. The best part for us, we thought, was they would be worn out and easier to take in the car. Note how I said, "we thought."
About a year ago, when we had purchased the convertible, we had also acquired two dog+car harnesses. These harnesses go on the dog, and then a large circle clamp piece of hardware attaches to another piece that has a real seatbelt buckle on the end. Effectively tethering the dogs butt to the seat.
The dog can lie down or sit, but not fully stand not jump out of the car. Perfect.
We found all our supplies (harnesses, dog bag, beach leashes, 50' piece of rope with clip on end for extended control, collapsible dog water travel bowl, baggies for poop, sunscreen and some good music for the drive) and loaded the car. Supplies first, dogs and people second.
Don't believe them for an instant, our dogs get out of the house plenty. But they way they behaved you'd have thought they'd been in prison for 8 years to life. Clamoring their way to the car in some new fangled clothes (the car harnesses) they had already figured out this wasn't an outing to the vet.
We got them locked into place and started out. We drove through the city to get to Pacific Coast Highway. We had already agreed that if it was too much, we could turn around and the car ride in itself was probably a good enough treat.
Lola and Cooper loved riding in the convertible. A couple of people stopped next to us in their cars and talked to us and told us how great they looked and how happy they seemed. One person surreptitiously took our photo from the other lane while just behind the car (hello, I can hear you camera make that shutter sound).
and then North through Malibu. In LA county we used to take our dogs to the beaches North of Malibu. It used to be legal as long as they were on leash. But no more.
We also recounted how we used to go to the beaches and park on the street above the lot as we couldn't afford the extravagant $2 parking fee back then.
We were headed all the way to Ventura to the beach. There is a closed refinery up there that not a lot of people go the beach in front of. Well, that suits us fine.
The dogs got bored and Cooper was VERY FRUSTRATED at not being able to stand. He rarely has limits imposed on him and I was thrilled that there was no escape for once. That boy needs to learn more than I have the energy to teach. (Mom, Dad, remind you of anyone?)
Finally we arrived.
We unloaded ourselves and our supplies, and hiked out across the dunes and sand to the beach. As we reached the beach we saw a sign that said dogs prohibited.
Too late. We're here. Screw you.
Way off to the left, and way off to the right we could see other dogs. We went to the beach.
Now lets back up. We got Cooper from a rescue shelter about 2 and half years ago. He was approximately 2 at the time. In the 2 and half years we've had him he has never been to the ocean. He's a great dog, but it has taken a lot of work to get him socialized and friendly and under control. I still do not trust him to be free around other dogs. The deal today was he would ALWAYS be on a leash. Maybe a 50' leash made of rope, but never free to run off.
So, it's Cooper's first day at the ocean. We are all very excited. Sophia, our Cocker Spaniel was quite the water dog. She inspired our first Dalmatian Nora to be good in the water as well. Lola learned from the two of them. But let's be fair, Dalmatians aren't naturally water thrill seekers.
Cooper was unimpressed.
Here you can see me with Cooper on the leash, dragging him to his perceived watery grave while Lola runs circle around us both. Oh, and I am totally working on my future tank top burn.
It was a great day. We did see the other dogs. We did keep our dogs under control.
I think we lasted about an hour at the most and then it was time to go home and pass out clean baths to everyone... except first we had to fix a flat tire on the car. Ugh.
Flat off. Spare on. It says you should only go 50 m.p.h. Do they not know where we live?
We agreed to take the freeway home because it would be more direct than the way we came. We also agreed that we could probably manage to go 60 m.p.h. on that tire.
Uh, the speed limit on that freeway is 65. And this is Southern California. Who knew that 60 could feel so hazardous as people (usually me) zoomed by at 70, 80, 90 or more. Oh how I wanted to go fast!
But we made it home safe, sound and slow.
Altogether a fabulous day for us all... except for the dogs. They still had to get their baths!