By Liz Palika
June 13, 2014
To quote Mr. Rogers, “It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood,” and on this Friday the 13th, it certainly is. Perfect day for a walk at Oceanside harbor. So four Kindred Spirits dog trainers and seven dogs walked around the harbor, smelled the Pacific Ocean, listened to waves crashing and sea gulls squawking, and watched the boats. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and just a touch of a breeze. Ahhh…….this is why I live here.
I’m pretty immune to the appeal of palm trees, but even the palm trees were graceful this morning.
See that low retaining wall bordering the beach in front of the palm trees? That’s a great agility obstacle for the dogs to walk on. I think Riker started that tradition when he was younger. Bashir, of course, had to do it if Riker did it. And now Sisko and Bones are learning to do it. When we reach that part of the walk, the dog must hop up and walk the length of the wall. If you fall, another dog will hop up and take your place. So don’t fall!
There are always adventures for the dogs, too. t least from the dogs’ point of view. Today, several sea lions were up on one dock and a big male barked at the dogs as we walked past him. Bones watched him closely; after all, this was a big guy who needed herding dog supervision. River, Melissa Duffy’s youngest English Shepherd, also thought this sea lion looked sketchy and growled under her breath at him while standing shoulder to shoulder with several of the older dogs. “Uh huh, River, I see how brave you are.”
Sisko, originally from the mountain deserts of Arizona, still thinks sea creatures are really strange. And sea lions are noisy. Sisko watched closely. If that sea lion had made one move towards us, we would be gone – with Sisko pushing us from behnd, “Go! Go! Go!” No, on the other hand, he would be leading us.
There is one spot on our walk where the dogs can get in the water and splash and all did except Bones. He was intent on watching everyone while being a responsible herding dog, “Wait! Don’t go out too deep! Come back! What are you doing?” Meanwhile Sisko lost his focus on the sea lion while jumping from the dock into the water and back up again, over and over.
Later we did some training around the lobster traps. Did you know lobster traps sitting on the dock in the sun stink? Oh yeah. They stink. And the dogs thought that the traps smelled bad enough perhaps they were for catching dogs, too. So from the trainers there was a bit of, “Hey, look! These traps have dog treats! Woo hoo!” Sniffing the traps resulted in praise and a treat. Touching the trap with a nose earned even more rewards.
All in all, a wonderful day, a lovely harbor, good friends and awesome dogs. Nothing better than that.
All four photos by Liz Palika. Top left: Bones watching the sea lion. Top right: Palm trees in the sun. Middle: Sisko watching the sea lion. Bottom: Kate Abbott showing a group of dogs that lobster traps aren’t scary.