By: Tanvi Maharaja PT, DPT
We took our first vacation with the dog this year. Cooper just turned one and due to Covid and life in general, we were unable to take him to the beach until now. So we booked our usual place down the Cape and took off. The weather was great, things looked breezy, we were looking forward to this for a long time, and we were rather pleased with ourselves thinking of all the fun things we would do. What could possibly go wrong?
To say that we were poorly prepared for what was to follow is an understatement. To start things off on the wrong paw, Cooper decided that he was not going to eat his usual food in his usual bowl since it was not at his usual place, i.e., home. Not sure if this was due to change of location, routine, or both, but he went on a hunger strike. We thought a walk down the beach would do him good, stir his appetite, and so forth.
We went down the beach that was 0.3 miles away from our stay (the reason why we stay where we do), and saw multiple dogs going down the beach pathway, right by the sign that said “No Dogs Allowed”. Oops! Someone forgot to check on this (all of us forgot to check on this). We didn’t want to mess with the regulations (should have). After asking around a bit, we were informed of a trail for dogs that would take us to another section of the beach. So off we went. Walking an unknown, unmarked, unlit trail. Without a map. In 85 degree weather. Close to dusk. On sand.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what followed: we got lost, we were exhausted, we played our favorite game of all time- the blame game, we gave up halfway, then we dragged ourselves home. Cooper was not amused. Neither were we.
The only good thing to come out of this was the fact that Cooper did get hungry and ate all his food and slept like a baby.
We worked on finding dog friendly beaches. There were precisely two. 26 miles away.
As we worked on our dog-on-a-beach game, we googled, we made lists, we read blogs and checked out You-Tube; we researched. Extensively. All in a night’s work. The next day, we went shopping for a beach umbrella. We stocked up on water. We went through our newly minted checklist. We were ready. We were about to find out if Cooper was a water baby.
So, we drove down on a very hot day, down (1.5 hours) to get to this beach. Cooper saw the sand. He saw the waves. He tasted the water. He couldn’t care less. He wanted out.
We spent the better part of the next couple hours trying to get a grip on the dog as he chased other dogs around, trying to make friends with each and every dog in sight. That is literally all he cared about: other dogs. This is not why we came to the beach. To chase dogs.
OK. So that didn’t work. At all. I am pretty sure I busted my biceps. And my back. And my feet. Not to mention my entire vacation.
All our dreams of seeing a happy pup splashing about in the waves and being a cute little dog like they showed on You-Tube were dashed. Crushed. Stepped upon and dug into with a pointy heel.
And we had 4 more days to kill. The next two days, we tried two different beaches hoping for less crowds and counting on the dog to calm down and get accustomed to the beach. That wasn’t meant to be. The crowds were everywhere. The dog got crazier. He still did not care for the sea or the sand or us.
As soon as we got back to our hotel, he was an angel. Except when we took him out to do his business. Then he wanted to be Marco Polo and go around the globe chasing after butterflies and rabbits and dislocating shoulders left and right (well, almost).
Needless to say, things didn’t exactly go as planned. Because they were poorly planned. Or to be more accurate, not planned at all.
We took notes. Diligently. The note said that we should look into boarding plans.
The one saving grace was that he did well with outdoor dining. If you are down in Sandwich, MA, and you have a furry baby, check out #CafeChew. The hostess brought out treats and water for the dog, found us a quiet shady spot, and Cooper was so well-behaved, you wouldn’t believe if I told you about his beach avatar.
We learnt from our mistakes. We argued, then we laughed. All in all, down the road, I think it will make for some fun memories. At our expense.
Have a great summer y’all !