Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dumb Dog At The Beach

Tomorrow is MLK Day and a holiday from school and work.  You might think, it being JANUARY and all, that it's too cold to go to the beach, but alas, it was 80 degrees down there today, so that's where we are all headed in the morning.  Jamey is taking kids, friends, skimboards and surfboards to Pismo where the sand is soft and there are snack bars and restrooms.  I am taking myself, my running gear, and my dog to Cayucos.  A friend of mine is - no joke - turning 80, and for her birthday she is going paragliding off the Cayucos cliffs, and some of us are going to go watch, take pictures, and pray.  Just so there's never any question...when I turn 80, a nice baseball or football game would be great (with me as spectator, not participant).  
Now I know that some of you live in cold places (20 degrees in Pittsburgh today.  That's a high.  Farenheit.)  So lest you be jealous of our warmth, let me tell you that it is not always a delight to take the dog to the beach.  The first time we took Max, we didn't think to bring along fresh water for him, poor guy, so of course he gulped and gulped quite a bit of salt water.  When we left the beach, we all hopped into the car (yes, all of us in the camry, wet dog included) and began the drive up the windy road to Atascadero.  About 2 minutes into the trip, I heard what I thought was Jason spilling water all over the back seat.  Actually, it was Max throwing up about a gallon of salt water and, amazingly, over 40 apricot pits (yes, we counted).  It seems he had been eating apricots off of the ground in our back yard for a few days. So probably in an ironic way, the salt-water-induced vomiting actually helped his digestive system (you never know, though....that dog once ate my compost pile with no ill effect).  I thought that was a bad smell, but it was nothing compared to 'dead seal.'
It just so happens that we live in an area where there are harbor seals, sea lions, and elephant seals.  And of course, from time to time, one of them dies and washes up onto the beach.  On a normal beach, this is a bummer, but on a dog beach, it's extra-extra-gross.  No one knows why, but apparently it is impossible for any canine to walk past a rotting seal carcass without rolling in it (who knew?).  Max is no exception.  Mmmmmm, you haven't experienced all that life has to offer until you've driven 20 miles on a windy road in an un-air-conditioned car (these things never seem to happen when we drive our truck) with a putrid-smelling dog.  The other night one of our 'family discussion questions' was, "What is your least favorite odor?"  This is mine by a mile.  Once it makes its way into your nasal passages, it doesn't leave.  It's like it's a dreadful living creature all its own.  I feel sick just writing about it.  Yuck!
So, see?  Those of you living where it is freezing cold can indeed feel blessed.  These kinds of things don't happen in the snow.


Ryan said...

That sounds like an awful smell. Ry and I went to the beach this weekend too and decided to have a hotdog from a stand in Avila. Later that day we were doing the same thing your dog was doing in the back of the car (but for a day and 10 pounds lighter)- lets just say I never want to smell a hot dog ever again. Hope I am paragliding on my 80th birthday!

Riley Gerbrandt said...

Do you guys have a weekly "family discussion night"? That's interesting. Sounds like a good thing for Serena and I to implement even now. Any tips/ideas?