Edmonds is a charming little city just north of Seattle, that lies along the coast of Puget Sound. Real estate prices are booming up there much like they are down here, and after visiting their beautiful waterfront off-leash dog park, I can’t help wondering if it’s dog owners buying up all the available housing inventory.
This entire past week that we’ve had Finnegan home, I’ve managed his schedule like a social secretary. All the dog books and websites talk about this magical period, which Finn is currently in, where the more you can expose your dog to new people, sights, sounds, and experiences, the less reactive and fearful, and the more social and laid-back he’ll be, later in his life. I’ve taken this advice very seriously. Every flippin’ day we have something going on, and bless him, he takes to it all like a champ. That is, until yesterday, when, after his huge day at Folklife, I thought heck, why not give the guy a rest day? We could all use one. I’m sure Finn would love a day to have nothing going on, no car rides, no crowds, no new things.
Finnegan has been ready for a lot of things, but what he wasn’t ready for, was a day to rest. Yesterday he earned his first nickname: Little Butthead. He chewed, everything, all day. My hand, the couch, his toys, anyone’s socks. He barked at everyone to beg them to play with him. In the evening, we watched the romantic comedy Must Love Dogs (meh, it was so-so), and Finn barked at the dogs on the screen. He chased us. He chased the cats. He chased bees. He chased his tail. The only thing he didn’t do all day was nap.
I joked that my efforts at socialization had the unintended effect of just conditioning him to have incredible amounts of endurance. So this morning we decided to give him a very special new experience for the Pacific Northwest dog; the beach.
He did GREAT! I am SO impressed with how well he adapts to new situations! The last time we’d been to the park, it was much bigger…..yeah, turns out we’d come before at low tide. At high tide, today, the park felt a quarter of its usual size, so I was careful to stay far out in one corner, away from the heavy dog traffic, to avoid Finn encountering any unfriendly dogs. I didn’t mind if he met a few one-on-one, but I didn’t feel he was ready to really mix it up with the pack. That strategy worked very well. We got a few visitors out to our corner, and a couple times he met two at once, but with his big brother Bo there to help him, he was fine. He greeted everyone, human and canine, with a wagging tail and a happy dance.
Jason is perpetually hoping to convince Bodhi, purebred-water-dog-descendent-of-champions, that it’s in his blood, in his genes, in his spirit, to get out there and SWIM. Swim, like the dog you are meant to be! It’s your destiny!
Bodhi, now three years old, continues to think Jason is, on this matter, utterly full of crap. Walking in up to one’s knees, as anyone can plainly see, is the pinnacle of interaction with any lake or beachfront. Bodhi can’t figure out what all the pressure’s about. Inevitably at some point on a day like this, Jason will stand there, shake his head, and say, “He’s a water dog. I just don’t get it.”
Fernie, our previous black Lab, was also afraid of the water, until my birthday one year, when she unexpectedly followed me into a lake in Oregon. I think she worried I might drown, and came in to save me, but after she discovered I was just fine, she figured out she was just fine, too, and that was that. She loved swimming after that day. I like to say that was my birthday present from her. So I tell the family that we just need to find a good place to go swimming, and gently coax Bo out with us, but have you been in the Puget Sound? It’s not the warmest place to swim. We’re still waiting for a warm enough day – and when they come, well, we’re usually off sailing.
While Bodhi was being lured into his swimming career, Beth and I looked for creatures, seashells, and cool rocks. Grandma Julie apparently told Greg once, as a kid, that if you find a rock with a ring around it, it’s a wishing rock. Greg passed that on to me (I have a nice collection of wishing rocks, now), and we passed that down to the kids, and Beth loves collecting wishing rocks. We usually make a few wishes at the beach, and then bring a handful home to save for later.
After a couple hours, we headed home. We picked up some lunch for Greg and Miles, who had stayed home to work on their own projects this afternoon. In the car on the way home, both pups were exhausted. It was another good puppy-adventure day.