I don’t have a canine, but I love going to dog-friendly beaches in Santa Barbara. I love taking pictures of dogs acting wacky with their supervising companions. In some ways I’m envious that I don’t have as much fun at the beach.
There’s a sense of freedom that exists for dogs once their paws hit the sand. The house and neighborhood rules against barking and jumping are out the window. They are free to do what they want and to explore the rock, sand and beach with no leash and no restrictions.
They can chase seagulls, run after gooey tennis balls, sniff other dogs, get their snouts caught in sea weed and above all–jump into the ocean and get soaking wet!
They are free to get as muddy and as dirty as they like. And at one local Santa Barbara beach getting dirty is no problem; there is a little coin-operated kiosk by the beach where doggies can get showered and shampooed by their owners. It’s really a dog’s life!
Of course there are some dogs who swim better than others like the Labrador Retriever and the Irish Setter. They are naturally good swimmers and are not afraid of a good wave or two.
Most dogs are not scared of the water like us tender-footed humans who slowly dip our toes in to see if it’s warm. No, dogs don’t care how cold the water is or if there’s too many shells or rocks on the ocean floor– they just go full barrel ahead!
There is also a growing group of dogs in California who surf. One in particular, Surfing Dog Ricochet (www.Surfdogricochet.com) is a therapy dog who helps people with all sorts of disabilities to learn to surf. She is a dog who has the heart and compassion of a saint.
There are even dog surfing competitions that include some of the most gnarly dogs around. The Surf City Surfing Dog Competition in Huntington Beach, CA happens in the Fall every year. You will see owners and dogs on the same board as well as dogs surfing alone with their life-jackets and shades. There are great photos of the dogs hanging ten, rather eighteen, on Facebook at Surf City Surf Dog.
Do I surf? No way. I much rather take pictures and watch the dogs go bonkers at the beach. And, besides, the water’s too cold.