Only once has Ace plunged into the surf with reckless abandon.
That was his first time. At a beach in Delaware, upon his first sighting of the Atlantic, he bolted out into the water, only to get hit face first with a giant wave that flipped him over. Ever since then, he has exercised caution, and only with encouragement from multiple people has it been possible to beckon him out any deeper than his knees.
Yesterday, though, as we continue to drag out our departure from Figure 8 Island in North Carolina, he ended up playing in the surf – and without seeming preoccupied about how big and scary the next wave might be. That was thanks to two dogs, a blue tennis ball and a girl named Georgia.
We’d stopped at the Winston house — the same family that provided a personalized watering station for Ace, complete with signage, over the weekend — to visit again with Mac, a golden retriever, and Jet, a black Lab.
Ace had seemed only mildly interested in the dogs on our earlier visit, partly because he was worn out, partly because that’s the way he is. While he immediately warms up to people, it takes him a while with dogs. (I’m the opposite). He’s nice enough upon meeting another dog, but it usually takes him 15 minutes or so of sniffing and acting aloof and reserved — especially with other big dogs — before he’ll even consider playing.
But getting together with Mac and Jet, and realizing there was no shade he could lay low in, he participated in some canine frolicking, all instigated by 8-year-old Georgia.
She’s a take charge sort, but not in a bossy way.
Georgia told me she plans to become an animal doctor. (That was her term, and a much more manageable one than “veterinarian.”) And she did seem to have a way with dogs — not just her own, Jet, but her aunt’s dog, Mac, and even Ace.
On the beach, she seemed a master choreographer, leading them in their antics, and she offered to throw the tennis ball I’d brought along, assuming Jet and Mac would chase it even though Ace wasn’t likely to.
At one point, I stood in the ocean with my camera and asked her to throw the ball over my head, so I could take pictures of Jet and Mac charging through the waves to get it. Surprisingly, a couple of times, Ace showed up in the frame, apparently not wanting to be left out of the fun.
Later, with the help of some peanut butter crackers, Georgia demonstrated Jet’s obedience skills, and soon had Mac and Ace under her spell as well.
One gets the sense, even at 8, and even if her plans to become an animal doctor change, Georgia is going to accomplish what she sets out to in life. When she heard I was writing a book, she asked to be in it. When told the book was based on my travels with Ace a year ago, she said she’d settle for being on ohmidog!
Told that would require permission from her parents, she left, returning a few minutes later with a note from her mother.
“I hereby allow ohmidog! to place any and all photos of my sweet Georgia “Peach” Winston,” it said. “Jet Winston, too!”
When I jokingly asked her if she wrote the note herself, Georgia said no, adding that she hasn’t mastered cursive yet.
I assured her that would be easy. It’s just like printing, only with waves.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animal doctors, animals, ball, beach, dogs, figure 8, figure 8 island, georgia, jet, mac, obedience, ocean, pets, photography, playing, surf, swimming, training, travels with ace, veterinarians, water, waves, winston
How nice is this?
Ace and I were taking the mile-long walk down to the end of Figure 8 Island and back on Sunday when we stopped to meet some other dogs — a golden retriever named Mac and a black Lab named Jet.
Their owners were on the beach, and though strangers — to me, at least – they offered Ace, who was looking a little bedraggled by then, some water. He graciously accepted and drank their entire supply.
After some chatting, Ace, I and friends moved on, walking to the inlet and turning around for the hike back. By then — it being especially hot, and our morning walk having started around noon — Ace was really dragging. In addition to being nearly as out of shape as his master, he had been taking in a little salt water each time he gingerly waded into the ocean.
We were passing by Mac and Jet’s house again when — though the people and dogs had all gone inside – we came across the note above, written in the sand, with an arrow that pointed to a full bowl of fresh water.
Ace made a beeline for it, lapped some up, then laid down, resting his chin on the edge and drinking almost the whole bowl before lazily getting up and lumbering a few hundred more yards.
All along the way, in addition to sniffing in the smells, he was keeping an eye open for shade. Anytime he saw a group under an umbrella, he felt the need to visit, and not being on a leash (shame on me) he did.
We hadn’t gotten far from the Ace watering station when another woman beckoned, and we, eyeing the shade of her umbrella, veered in her direction. She went to a cooler and pulled out a bottled water, pouring it into her cupped hand for Ace. He polished off the whole thing.
Issuing thanks again (though no one was offering me water, I might point out), we trudged homeward — by now having fallen far behind our friends, due to our slower pace and Ace’s philosophy when it comes to humans: There are no strangers — only friends he hasn’t yet met (who might also have good stuff like water and treats and shade).
Shade can be hard to find at the beach.
Kindness, though, is usually only as far as the next beach chair.
(Photos by Amelia Bellows)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, beach, dog, dogs, drinking, figure 8 island, friends, heat, hot, jet, kindness, mac, north carolina, pets, reunion, salt water, shade, strangers, travels with ace, vacation, water
In this cut and paste world in which we’ve come to value getting it done quickly and cheaply over getting it done with class, style or individuality, maybe it’s not all that surprising that Ohio’s “dog-friendly” license plate features the image of a pooch who’s not from from Toledo, or Dayton, or Cincinnati, or even Cleveland or Akron.
No, Ohio’s steel-stamped icon for dog friendliness hails from … Louisiana … by way of Missouri, and the Internet.
How Mac, a 9-year-old yellow Lab from Monroe, La., ended up as the face of dog-friendliness on Ohio’s license plate is a story that began when J.J. and Mary Linda Huggins sent a photo of Mac to Missouri artist Debbie Stonebraker for the purposes of having a portrait painted.
Mac’s picture joined hundreds of others on Stonebraker’s website.
The good folks at The Ohio Pet Fund, rather than going into their own dog-friendly backyard, went online looking for a dog, browsed Stonebraker’s website, and chose Louisiana Mac as Ohio’s dog, according to an Associated Press story — one that ran in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette under the headline “Apparently the dogs in Ohio aren’t friendly enough … Louisiana pooch ends up on Buckeye license plates.”
Louisiana Mac is the latest addition to the Ohio Pet Fund’s pet-friendly license plate line. The dog-friendly plate joins a cat-friendly plate and a generic pet friendly plate, illustrated with a cartoon. Proceeds from the sale of the plates go towards low-cost spay and neutering programs.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: art, artist, cut and paste, debbie stonebraker, dog, dog friendly, dogs, huggins, internet, lab, license, license plate, louisiana, mac, monroe, neuter, ohio, ohio pet fund, pet, pet friendly, pets, photo, picture, plates, spay, website, yellow labrador