I am embarrassed to admit that I almost forgot what it is like to play and relax, but fortunately- this past holiday weekend I found the perfect recipe to put a little bliss back into my life. If you take two dogs to one of the best dog beaches in the country, mix with lots of sunshine, tennis balls, and surf, then top it off with a holiday weekend you are guaranteed to rediscover what it is like to have fun.
Last week, at the start of the holiday weekend, I dropped Jon and Abby off at the airport for a trip back east to visit family. Given that I had just spent the previous two weeks traveling first to Miami, then to Dallas, and have another week long business trip coming up in Las Vegas, I was looking forward to some quiet time at home alone with the pups. It’s always hard for Jon to leave the dogs (not so much for Abby), so I brought them with me on the drive to the airport.
The weather was perfect with a crystal blue sky, bright sun, and warm gentle winds blowing off the coastline. As I drove away to head back to the office, BOLO looked longingly out the front window, almost as though detecting the dog beach in Huntington Beach was only about 10 minutes away. I looked at her in my rear view mirror and then said- “BOLO, you are right…we need to go to the beach!” I took the next exit and headed straight towards the beach. I switched my radio from the permanently fixed standard news channel to a station on Sirius XM that only played music from the 90’s, ugh that makes me sound old. I cranked up those tunes and turned the air off in the car so I could roll down the windows a bit. As the fresh air started pouring in, my smile grew from watching BOLO’s ears as they flapped back while she put her nose up to the crack in the back window. Oh yea, she knew where we were going. Henry did too and I loved how they came alive in anticipation of some afternoon fun. As the music blared, I reminisced about the numerous times I drove to the beach back east with a car load of girlfriends. Those memories were priceless, certainly not for the faint at heart- yes, believe it or not, I was once wild, crazy, and carefree.
As I pulled up to dog beach and into the parking lot where it is almost impossible to find a parking space without waiting, a car was just pulling out. Perfect! I knew this afternoon was going to be fantastic. Parked, meter filled, dogs on leash, tennis balls, poop bags, sunglasses and sunscreen…now, we were ready to go. The walk from the car to the beach is very short but was obnoxious as BOLO was taunted by countless ground squirrel. I struggled to keep her from racing towards them- a critical point since they were taunting her from the top of the cliffs. The walkway is lined with protective railings so people don’t fall over the cliffs/rocks, but BOLO would surely bolt underneath to get to those pesky rodents so it was imperative and all I could do to keep her focused on her ball and away from the walkway.
At last, down at the beach. A quick “sit- stay” for both dogs so I could take off their leashes- instant freedom for us all. It was warm outside so the first place both dogs ran to was the only spot of shade, directly under the lifeguard stand. Henry is such a character and became instant buddies with the cool guy guarding the beach. What a great job, being a lifeguard on dog beach! BOLO took off for the water, dropped her ball and waited patiently while I took pictures of Henry and his new buddy. The next two hours were amazing to me. As I walked along the beach, I began to feel the stress and guilt from not returning immediately back to work, start to disappear.
I threw BOLO’s tennis ball into the ocean over and over again. I reveled in the absolute blast she was having jumping over the waves to retrieve it and then cracked up as she discovered body surfing was a cool way to get back to shore. Henry trotted along too, stopping to dig into the sand periodically and other times just stand there with the wind in his face. I found it amazing how my time at the beach with the two dogs had shifted my mental mindset so drastically and so quickly. Throughout the rest of the 4th of July weekend, we made several trips back to the beach. Countless others had the same idea as it was absolutely packed with people and their dogs. We spent hours one day playing, meeting other people and their dogs. Henry continued to make himself at home on different people’s blankets, under the shade of various umbrellas, or sun bathing with strangers on the beach. BOLO entertained beach goers as she played non- stop in the surf and mastered her skills at body surfing. She even had me in the water, something I have not done in years out of fear of sharks.
I am so grateful for my dogs and the timing of the holiday weekend to keep me out of my office. Playing with Henry and BOLO, getting out to the beach, getting a little sun-kissed tan, was exactly what I needed. I even went out with friends and to a 4th of July party too….I think I am going to “Make time for Play” a new habit. Thank goodness for my doggies who will make sure I don’t break it!