Tag Archives: Off leash Dog areas

Spoiled Dogs!

Ready for the Dog ParkSpoiled? My dogs? Nah….

Last weekend we embarked on a new type of vacation. A trip dedicated to travel with our dogs. They are old enough to have reliable good manners and can be trusted not to chew up the decor at the hotels!

We did select a dog friendly place to stay in Oak Harbor. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many places are listed as “pet friendly” when searching the internet. For those of you wishing to plan a get away with your pets, check out sites like www.bringfido.com . Lots of options are listed no matter where you intend to roam. The most important parts were the reviews and comments from happy pet owners.

So are my two Norwegian Elk hounds truly spoiled? I certainly did enter them in the “Spoiled Dog” contest! Our travels on Whidbey Island lead us back to a winery by that name that we’d discovered on a previous, “BP” (Before Pups) trip two years ago.  We’d enjoyed their Pinot varieties especially and were back to ensure a purchase of their lovely dry Pinot Rose before it sold out this season.

Yes, we planned an entire vacation around two pups! That is what parents do when traveling with children or grand-kids if they want to enjoy the trip. Plan ahead, make good choices and spend the time relaxing and enjoying….not struggling against situations that are fraught with peril from the get-go.

For dog owners lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest, it is a true paradise of pooch playgrounds!  Seattleites love their dogs! The numbers available confirm it. There are now more dogs in Seattle than children, by a lot: about 153,000 dogs to 107,178 kids, according to figures from the U.S. Census and the Seattle Animal Shelter. The area’s canine oriented facilities certainly bear out this. One can’t sling a dead cat (apologies to cat owners for the bad pun!) without hitting a “Doggie Daycare” or” Pet Parlor” these days.

I want you to know there are at least six Off Leash dog areas on Whidbey Island alone.  There is a non-profit organization called FETCH- (Free Exercise Time for Canines and their Humans!)that maintains five of these parks. See www.fetchparks.org.  We hit them all and went back for a few extra visits to the pup’s favorite one, the Patmore Pit! This off leash area is 40 acres of open grassland dotted with lush islands of brush and trails through the trees on the outer edges. Our female pup, Elki was in dog heaven as she romped through the bushes, struggling out the other side with vines and branches trailing behind her. Her brother Gordon seemed content to follow her lead or possibly just couldn’t keep up with her pace. She is lighter than he by about 20 pounds and she can run circles around him on most outings.

When we finally could coax our cavorting canines back to the car our boy would flop on the back seat to nap. His sister was doing a great imitation of the scene in “Foot Loose” where the troubled teen daughter of the local preacher is hanging out of her boyfriend’s truck with her hair streaming in the wind. Elki struck a similar pose sticking out the window as far as she could squeeze her head and front paws, barking “Yippee”. She was on the look for the next opportunity to run wild and free. We wondered if she’d ever truly get tired.

I will say that when we settled in for the evening that Elki was so deeply asleep she was snoring! This is the pup that usually sleeps with one ear cocked so as not to miss a single sound.

My definition of “spoiled” pertains to fruit that isn’t picked and eaten at its peak of flavor. In the case of our pups, the Oxford dictionary says to spoil someone is to “Treat with great or excessive kindness, consideration, or generosity”. I think my pups must have read that one! They love us excessively and are so generous with their affection toward their human family members that we are probably the ones who are spoiled.

Maybe Gordon and Elki will enter us in a contest … one called “spoiled humans”… cause we certainly are!

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The Path usually not taken…

The “Path not taken” was the theme for our timed writing exercise at this week’s writing group. I’d arrived just as the group was starting its introductions…a bit late due to my usual predicament…dogs!

My dogs chose the “Path Not Taken” that morning… it was the path that is usually underwater! But we are in low tide season up here in the Pacific Northwest. OLAE, the off leash area in Edmonds, has been experiencing a major expanse of beach exposure. Receding waters in the Puget Sound open up the natural rockery barrier between our dogs’ “allowed” area and the public beach where the wagging tailed visitors are not so welcomed!

“It was not their fault! They were tempted.” This is the stock answer from my Hubby when ever our pups commit some transgression.  But Hubby was not the one jogging in heavy stiff soled Mephisto®foot ware, burdened by the additional weight of wet sand! I had not planned on this level of exercise before sitting in my writing group that morning. I’d planned on contemplating the beauty of the snow kissed peaks of the Olympic Mountains and being calmed by the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach. Now my thoughts were derailed by wondering if I’d have time for a quick change into drier attire before I arrived to sit and write.

My pups were, in their defense, truly tempted. A low flying gull that teased them with hope of capture, coupled with their lack of literacy had them flying down the beach in hot pursuit. They raced right by the bright yellow sign that said “No dogs allowed past this point”. This barrier is usually enforced by deep enough water and a high rocky expanse that discourages, or at least slows down most of the canine curiosity about what is on the other side of that point.

As I jogged after my escaped canine charges, I tried not to slip on the still moist rocks, recently exposed and still covered with algae and sea weed. Muttering commands that my mischievous mongrels pretended they’d never heard before, despite the 6 weeks of Puppy Manners class where they’d performed perfectly, I finally caught up with them.  I was aided by the presence of a Beach Ranger who sternly informed me that “Dogs must be leashed in this section of the beach!”  She stated this as I was breathlessly struggling with the clasp on one of my dogs’ collars and had the other one in firm grasp.  Talk about stating the obvious!

Her terse smile did not brighten her words.  “I hope that you are going to go back where you came from.” Her nod toward the other end of the beach indicated a “Path frequently taken”.

I am currently searching for a real time “app” for my Droid phone that posts the tidal charts in Edmonds. I believe I will need to consult this on a daily basis for the next few months or risk time in “Dogie Detention.”

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