Volume XI, Issue 37 ~ September 11-17, 2003

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Bay Reflections

Dogs Know a Good Bay When They See It.
Do You?
by Barbi Shields

Go to the Bay.

Those are words that our two Labrador retrievers patiently wait each day to hear. Once they hear the magic words, they turn from lazy lovable muggie babies into explosive balls of energy, jumping and howling with felicity. They can’t contain themselves. So filled are they with joy in anticipation of what they will be doing in the next few minutes that they shiver with excitement. There is no pattern to their wagging tails, which now act like fire hoses turned on full force.

What are normally two semi-well-mannered dogs turn into howling, screaming jumping beans because they are so excited about going to the beach they don’t hear a word said to them about quieting down. Even choke collars won’t do any good to stop the tugging and wiggling and twisting in glee that they will soon be at the beach. They can’t wait; they just can’t wait.

With the water in view, they are like racehorses heading for the finish line at full speed. Not even jockey Pat Day could hold them back. It is as if they had blinders on, for they see or hear nothing but the waves and birds. In a few minutes, they will be doing their favorite thing in life — eating included. They will be running, leaping, swimming, chasing birds and sticks, digging in the sand, playing with their friends and neighbors and sometimes picking up trash and carrying it around for anyone to see.

They are very proud of their finds and want to share their happiness. But it’s usually someone who finds a shaking, wet dog objectionable that they get close to with their newly found treasure.

To a human who asks nicely, they might reluctantly give up the slobbery treasure, though they’ll never understand why a human would take it from them only to dispose of it in a trash can or a recycling bin.

With luck, the dogs might induce someone to throw a stick or two for them to bring back — if they choose to.

These dogs love Chesapeake Bay. It is one of the most important things in their lives, and they cherish and value it. It doesn’t matter to them that there are fish, crabs or horseshoe crab carcasses occasionally scattering the beach, especially after a red tide. Nor do they care that the fresh smell of the Bay has been taken over by a different aroma. The smell will only be there until the next tide cleans the beach, but as long as it lasts, to the dogs it’s Bay perfume.

It is so wonderful to see the excitement and anticipation and enthusiasm for the Chesapeake Bay in these two animals. It’s too bad more human beings don’t feel the same way.


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Last updated September 11, 2003 @ 1:42am