Alabama, the Salt Dog and Us

Oh yeah, baby I'm a real salt dog

So, we’ve left the land of sunshine and snowbirds and landed ourselves in Alabama, and thanks to a bit of paw-friendly planning we’ve discovered another fabulous beach here on Dauphin Island. We deliberately skirted the popular Gulf Shores area precisely because we wanted a paw-friendly experience, and I have to admit this place delivers. It doesn’t have quite the pristine or remote feel of St. Joseph in FL and the view is spotted with oil-rigs off the coast, but we played for an hour and a half in the sand and surf with pooch this AM and only met 2 people so it goes into the “pretty darn nice” pile for us.

Now, this is the Deep South and it’s bursting with interesting history, but before I run off and talk about it I thought I would share a little story of how our pooch became such a beach-lover. You see, Polly was a very skittish puppy who  approached water with a well-grounded mistrust and considered stick-chasing a fruitless pastime rather beneath her dignity. It took many months of daily visits to the beach in San Diego before she overcame fear to put her paw in the water, and even more months of coaxing and play before she decided retrieving was worth her time. We were already on the road by this time, Polly was over 7 months old and she’d never been for a proper swim.

Afternoon play on the beach at Dauphin Island, AL
The beach in my paws and a stick for play. Life is good!

But….we persisted. Approaching the problem with style Polly decided to have her first swim at stunning Cathedral Rock in Sedona, her first retrieving dips in spectacular Lake Powell and finally did the surf and beach full and dog-happy justice when we reached the Eastern Shores of Hunting Island, SC. From a scared and reserved dry-land pup, after 4,000 miles and many good doses of positive play and training she turned into an unabashedly exuberant water-dog. She now loves her sticks, will happily spend a full hour of retrieving in the surf and considers swims with dad the best of treats. So, the story has turned into one of the salt dog and us, and although it doesn’t quite have the flair of Ernest Hemingway, it’ll be a tale we’ll enjoy for the rest of our lives.

Here’s to playtime in the sand (Click the video link)
Play on the Beach at Daupin Island, AL from Paul Novell on Vimeo.

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