This last weekend we went to Port Townsend to walk the beach with my Step-Dad, Guest Adventureweiner Sadie and her Mom.
Sadie’s Mom brought two dogs – Sadie and a Doberman named Smokey. Sadie is very old and wise so she is allowed to walk off leash. Smokey is also allowed off leash so he can obsessively chase the rocks thrown into the water for him (he doesn’t wander far from the hand that throws the rocks).
As usual, Chester and Gretel were on a leash. Also, as usual, Gretel was pulling with the strength of an Ox. She loves chasing throwy things so she was pulling hard to try and run with Smokey. She was basically running in place and leaving claw marks in the sand.
She was also pulling so hard that her harness was squeezing her little chest and causing her to wheeze. I finally decided to take a chance and let her run free. I figured there were three of us walking the beach to watch/chase her. Also, she was somewhat constrained by the bluff and the water.
I left her leash on though. If she runs away, trying to catch her is like trying to catch a greasy Jack Rabbit. If the leash is trailing behind her, I can get close to her and then stomp on it to stop her.
It has only been a year since we adopted Gretel so we are still learning her personality. Recently, I figured out that she has two barks. She has an “I’m alerting” and “playing” bark that sounds like a big dog voice coming out of a tiny body. She also has an “I’m excited” or “I’m anxious” bark that sounds like a sea bird tweeting or chirping.
I used to think that every time she chirped or “sang” it was because she was scared but have since learned different. The lesson for me has been to figure out when this chirping means “I am excited and this is crazy fun” or when it means “I am anxious and scared so please go away.” Today, while she was chirping at Smokey chasing rocks, it was pretty obvious she was having fun.
On our walk, we passed a tree sitting on top of the cliff where two huge Bald Eagles were perched to survey the beach.
At one point, Gretel got a little ahead of us. I was just chatting along and all of a sudden Sadie’s Mom anxiously called out to Gretel not to get too far ahead. Seconds later, one of the Bald Eagles flew over our heads. Gretel has slowed down and was pretty close to us again so I wasn’t worried but I bet she looked like a yummy sea bird or rabbit to that eagle.
As we continued to walk and chat Gretel kept close, dragging her sandy leash behind her. I can’t say what it was but something made me stop in my tracks. I looked around and didn’t see Gretel. My heart sank but then I heard a chirp from behind us. I walked back down the beach a few hundred feet calling her name.
She is the same color as wet driftwood so she was a little hard to see but there she was standing by the cliff with a worried look on her little crooky face. Apparently she wandered into the drift wood and her trailing leash had gotten caught under a piece of wood.
She probably watched us walk away “leaving her” for a minutes or so before she let out a chirp for us to come back. Poor little girl. Freedom can have its down sides too 🙂
We had such a great day. The weather was amazing and the conversation was great. Gretel got to run free as a bird and play to her little hearts content. I also got some great photos.