Good morning Everyone!
I would like to say that my long absence this year from blogging was due to something remarkable, such as participating in a medical mission trip in the Amazon basin, but alas, I have no such excuse – just a miserable bout with bronchitis that lasted for over two months and then another month or two to recover from it completely and help Mark get over his bronchitis also. Hopefully we have seen the last of it though!
Last week was Spring Break week for our school system, so we took advantage of Kayla’s days off to pay a visit to Alabama’s Gulf Shores State Park Campground for a few days. The entire Alabama State Park system is a hidden gem that more campers throughout the United States should take advantage of, and the Gulf Shores State Park is no exception. Among the newest attractions at the state park is something called “The Dog Pond.” The powers that be have created a dog park on the shores of Lake Shelby, a lake which is literally across the street from the Gulf of Mexico.
My dogs had never been to a public dog park before, so I approached the visit cautiously. Kayla, however, was quite ready to count it all joy, and fortunately had her phone in hand for video footage of the dogs.
Darwin I never really worried about; he has always gotten on well with other dogs at places where we have boarded him. Mandy, on the other hand, doesn’t always play well with others. She wants to play, until she doesn’t, and not every dog can read her signals.
When we got to the park, there were two areas – one large area for large dogs, and a second, slightly smaller area for dogs under 30 or so pounds. The smaller dogs can go into the large dog area at their own risk if the owners choose.
There was only one other dog in the park at that moment – a one year old Golden Retriever mix named Casey. We let Darwin off leash immediately, and he made a bee line for Casey, whose owners were training her to retrieve an orange float from the water.
Casey wanted to play, but when it was time for her to go back to the water, we had a problem – Darwin has never been around water like that before. After a great deal of coaxing, he finally was brave enough to try it, and of course he liked it. (In one of those helpful 15-year-old moments, Kayla neglected to tell me until after we were headed back from the dog pond that Mark had asked us to keep the dogs out of the water.)
And what was Mandy doing during this time? At first, she was restrained on the leash – when Casey first came over to introduce herself, Mandy wasn’t exactly welcoming, and I wanted to be sure everything would be okay. After about 20 minutes, though, I was ready to let her try again – and Mandy came through with flying colors! She had absolutely no aversion to the water; my only concern with her was to keep her from going so deep that Bear or I would have to wade in after her to keep her from sinking. (When she was younger and we had Tyra as well as Mandy and Darwin, there were a couple of warm summer days we left them outside. I would always carefully fill a HUGE water bowl to the brim with ice and water to be sure they had something to keep them cool. We’d come home, and the water bowl would be completely empty. I finally figured out why – as soon as she got hot, Mandy would plop herself smack dab in the center of the water bowl, spreading water and ice everywhere on the patio, but keeping herself quite cool. We stopped trying to keep them outside for even a little while when we were gone after that.)
Both dogs had a wonderful time, but when we were joined by another three dogs, I finally decided it was time for them to go, so we carefully bundled them back into our Hyundai Veloster and drove back to the campground with the car windows open, breathing in the strange combination of sea air and “eau de wet dog parfum.”
And of course, every wet dog knows that nothing tops off the whole lake experience like a good roll in the grass!
Have a great day!