Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Beach boy

It took a couple of tries, but Dempsey finally made it to the beach.

On our first trip, we went to Venice -- Venice Beach, California, that is. There are canals in Venice Beach, too, but instead of gondoliers and stunning waterfront scenes by Canaletto, there are a lot of weirdos, this being California, after all. Dempsey walked along the canals and then Muscle Beach and the Venice boardwalk, where he got to meet some of the famous locals, such as the roller-skating-electric- guitar player with his backpack amp and the 60-year-old bodybuilder who, despite his fabulous physique, should not be wearing Speedos. Dempsey also practiced his retrieves in front of the boardwalk's only medical clinic, which sells medical marijuana.

As you can tell from the picture below, neither Dempsey nor Doreen were exactly thrilled that I picked this spot for Dempsey's first beach experience.

But what a great socialization experience it was! Dempsey was completely unfazed by any of it, except for one thing: a loose basketball, which he thought was an invitation to play ball.

Luckily for Dempsey and Doreen, we discovered that dogs are not allowed on the beach at Venice, so we headed up the coast to Santa Monica, which is much fancier. Alas, we discovered dogs are not allowed on the beach at Santa Monica, either, but we had fun anyway, walking along Third Street Promenade, the Santa Monica Pier, and the sandstone cliffs overlooking the Pacific.

Since everything is a socialization experience for Dempsey, we spent some time by the trapeze school and the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes, which depicts the birth of humanity's saviour, as told by department-store mannequins. Dempsey did not find this nearly as unnerving as the mannequins he saw in the windows at the outlet mall; his fear of mannequins has been conquered, thank God.

For our second trip to the beach, we headed to Oxnard Shores in Ventura County, where dogs are welcome on the beach. We spent a good half hour just walking along the shore, watching the waves. Then we discovered the Stick.

As you may recall, Dempsey was afraid of going into water, but the Stick has magical powers that not even peanut butter has. Dempsey loves the Stick so, he was willing to willing to run into the waves to get it. Here are a couple of videos, before and after the Stick:

What a brave little boy! We spent another half hour playing Stick retrieve in the waves. But the fun wasn't over yet; after a short nap, Dempsey headed to Point Mugu State Park, which has a very tall sand dune.

Dempsey and Paul had fun climbing to the top of the dune, and then running down. Well, at least he had fun running down. Paul climbed the dune three times, but Dempsey only wanted to do it once.

While Paul was busy running around like a dog, Dempsey kicked back and watched his first sand sledder go by.

Dempsey also discovered a talent for engineering. The nice warm sand was a little too warm for Dempsey, so he dug himself a little hole and then chilled out in the cool sand below.

Dempsey says he likes sandy beaches ok, but that he really prefers snow. That crazy little dog.

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