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Dog Blog: At the seaside

Posted by indigodream on 22 March, 2009

Sunday 22nd March

I was saying to Richard today that we rarely go out and about at weekends. What a stupid thing to say – of course we go out, it’s just that we’re generally on the boat! So this weekend, for a change, we left Indigo Dream to enjoy a tranquil last few days at the marina and set off in the car to the seaside instead.

"Are we there yet?"

"Are we there yet?"

We’ve been meaning to take the dogs to the seaside for a long while. We’re not sure whether Blue’s been to the beach before as he did have 9 months in another home between finishing racing and coming to us. However, we’re certain that Lou hasn’t been – we weren’t sure what they’d make of it.

We headed off for Camber Sands on the south coast, near to the ancient town of Rye. It’s a good hour and a half’s drive from home but our reward for a slow trip was miles and miles of sandy beaches. As chance would have it, we arrived at lunchtime and the tide was out – maximum space for dogs and perfect running conditions in the damp sand.

We’ve been longing to come here with Blue and Lou for a while. We last came here years ago with our old lurcher, Indie, and her best friend, Chester the boxer, who lived down the road. Indie and Chester had a fabulous time and gave us some of our best dog photographs and most cherished dog memories as Indie aged and became too unwell for such vigorous exercise.

Free at last!

Free at last!

But back to the present – it was busier at the beach than we expected, but nothing like the carpet of humanity that we know will cover the beach in the summer months. There were plenty of dogs here, all taking advantage of the winter dog-walking window. You can only walk dogs off-lead along the whole of the sands between 1st September and 1st May. Over the summer, dogs are restricted to certain areas of the beach and on-lead only. I can understand why given how busy the beach is in the summer (Chester the boxer had a tendency to try to wee on small children if they sat still for long enough!). However, if the council are serious about dog-owners picking up after their hounds then they really must provide dog-waste bins. We’ll carry the stuff home if need be, but many won’t and I can’t really blame them.

and they go for it!

and they go for it!

We got Blue and Lou onto the beach, walked them away from the busier central area, with its cafes, sandcastles and pony rides, towards the empty beach on the left. Now, regular readers will know that our dogs have at least an hour a day of off-lead walking on top of rummages round the field at home. But when we let them off the lead at the beach

Wheeeeee!!!

Wheeeeee!!!

they went ballistic, as if they’d spent their whole life in a cage up to that moment. What a joyful thing – they raced around like rockets, throwing up great sheets of water and getting us all covered in sand and spray. We laughed out loud at the sight of them. When Lou looked like she was slowing down, Blue teased her into a new game of chase and round they went again, making their own dog track in the sand.

They were exceptionally good with the other dogs today – we were joined for the last half of our walk by a very cute Hungarian Vishla puppy – only 18 weeks old I think. Blue and Lou let her into the pack without any drama and they all rummaged around regardless. Blue actually went off and ran with a couple of dobermans – he’s never done that before as he doesn’t usually recognise any other dog unless it’s a greyhound. There seemed to be a general dog amnesty here – maybe the huge space and open vista means that there’s enough territory for everyone and no boundaries to defend.

When we took Chester and Indie to the beach, they spent hours running around; but Blue and Lou are sprinters so after about 45 minutes they were done! We trailed back to the car with two dogs who were too tired even to take an interest in the unsavoury carcass that the Vishla puppy found, dragged down the beach and crunched happily once she was safely out of reach of her horrified owner 🙂

The chase is on....

The chase is on....

By now it was lunchtime and though our primal noses were tempted by the smell of the seaside chip stalls, our  evolved brains demanded a trip to a pub for a less microbially challenged meal!

We headed away from the delights of Rye (the town’s well worth a visit by the way) and found two dog-friendly pubs within half a mile of each other near the village of Brookland. The first was the Woolpack Inn – an eccentric 16th Century (apparently) building with uneven floors and ceilings low enough to make Richard double over. They allow dogs but sadly they were so busy that the wait for food was 45 minutes – way too long for us. The next pub, the Royal Oak, was right in the village next to a truly amazing church paired with what looked like an old oast house with three tiers of coned roof – I’ve never seen anything like it.

House rules - for children but not for dogs!

House rules - for children but not for dogs!

The Royal Oak allowed dogs in the bar and garden and had more notices laying restrictions on children than on animals – we took to it immediately! The only downside was that they don’t have any sausages on the menu so the dogs were deprived of their usual treat. However we had a fine meal at a reasonable price. Blue and Lou drew loads of attention as always. Unfortunately we’d forgotten their travelling sheepskins so they only had their coats to lie on – it is a stone floor so here was no question of them lying on THAT. Unfortunately they weren’t as impeccably behaved as usual as they had the odd bark at some other dogs in the pub. Doting mum say it’s because they were tired and hence a bit grumpy and the little dogs just startled them out of sleep – just like toddlers really.

Of course, we humans are so perverse. After a wonderful day at the seaside we had to spoil it all by giving both of the dogs a bath as soon as we got home. They were pretty filthy before we went out, but an extra coating of sand and sea salt pushed them over even my high dirt threshold.

They’re now looking all glossy and silky – they’d be ready for their close up in a shampoo advertisment except that  agencies generally prefer models that look more awake, or alive, for that matter…..

Photo Blog:

We’ll let these photos tell the story of what it means to a rescue dog when they find their forever home….

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4 Responses to “Dog Blog: At the seaside”

  1. Jill & Graham said

    Fabulous photos, it just brings joy to your soul (Matilda Rose)

  2. Lesley K said

    Wonderful! I can see the silly grins on you faces as you watch Blue and Lou charging about. Our dogs me thinks have a better quality of life than lots of children – a rather sad thought isn’t it?

  3. Greygal said

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful

  4. The old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words is so true. No text could express the joy of the dogs like these photos do. Brilliant.

    Neil

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