I took Cooper to Carmel beach this afternoon. When we got there I realized we had the Chuckit but no ball, because I took him to a crappy place for Chuckit yesterday and the ball went missing on the first chuck. Oh well, it’s a very doggy beach, I’ll probably find one, I told him, so we went down the stairs with the empty Chuckit.

As soon as we got to the water a guy in a family group said, “Lost the ball?” and I allowed as how we had, and did the rueful laugh thing, while Cooper danced around frantically as he always does. We went ahead north and I heard the guy’s daughter (I assume) telling him “We found a ball…” then a wave crashed as it always does.We strolled along, I looked around for an abandoned tennis ball, Cooper hopped and danced and jumped, the waves crashed, other dogs ran and danced and chased balls, then suddenly the little girl was next to me saying “Here’s a ball” and holding it out to me. Awww. So I said “Fabulous, thank you,” and chucked the ball into the ocean and Cooper raced into his paradise. The family group all laughed. The guy said they don’t know the difference, and I said we’ve donated lots of balls to the beach so it all comes out even.

Then for half an hour or so we did Cooper’s thing. It’s a great place for Chuckit because the water is so turquoise and clear but at the same time the waves are so thunderous. He loves flinging himself into them. He even seems to love having them break over his head and completely disappear him. He looks like a sock in a washing machine sometimes. Every now and then a wave breaks with a boom or even a bang – there was one bang that made me look around for the source for a second. I think those are the tubular ones – if they get rounded enough they hit with enough force to make a boom. The ones on Monterey beach do that every time.

As we were walking back to the car, looking down on the beach and Carmel Bay and Pebble Beach and over at the houses and trees, I remembered as I sometimes do that this is a prized and expensive tourist destination, and I get to come here as part of my job. Fun.


  1. artymorty says

    I love the Cooper updates! This one’s especially lovely.

    Also, if I may ask, did the elephants you used to tend ever play fetch or anything like that? (I’ve always wanted to hear about the elephants. If you ever feel like sharing an elephant story…)

  2. otrame says

    I had a dog once that loved to swim. When we approached any body of water she would start to shake with excitement. She didn’t even need to have us throw stuff for her. She’d just jump in and swim around in circles, poking her nose in the water so she could see what was down there.

    I miss that girl. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. says

    The happiest moments of my life were spent hanging around the Santa Cruz Wharf.
    Used to sell antiques/collectibles until noon or so, then off to the wharf.
    Down the little-known staircase to talk face to face with sea lions. One day in particular I’ll always remember – sea otters floating along on their backs, surfers in the distance in the sun by the point, the sound of the roller coaster at teh beach boardwalk… and pelicans.
    A huge group of sea lions herding fish into a circle, while above dozens of brown pelicans flew in a circle, taking turns skydiving into the center of the grouping to grab a fish.

    So many days like that there. About the only thing that compares is the day I spent on the cliff at Mendocino near the blowhole, watching a mother and baby grey whale circling around repeatedly in the little doghole bay beneath me.

    Never got to spend more than a few hours in Carmel. Not being a driver I just tag long where people will tolerate me.

    No dog to this story, though I did useta get to walk Zeke around Lake Merritt every day.

  4. Aratina Cage says

    Makes me long for California. Of course, I’d be the one running and splashing in the waves while my dogs would be tilting their heads looking puzzled as to why anyone would want to go and get wet.

  5. Rodney Nelson says

    Sounds like you and Cooper had a very nice time playing chuckit. It was nice of the girl to give you a ball.

  6. says

    I’ve still got black lab grown-up puppy teeth marks on my arm from yesterday morning. Puppy brain in a grown doggie body.

    I managed to pin him down for a bit, for a belly scratch, which he liked. He then offered up his ball, which means…

    ‘Try and take this off of me, so I can lovingly bite you! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!’

    Crazy dog.

    How bitey is Cooper, may I ask?

  7. naturalcynic says

    The guy said they don’t know the difference

    sometimes yes, sometimes no. I have had the pleasure of playing ball with two half labs who had entirely different ball-retrieval behaviors. For the half blond lab, half golden you had to have two balls or sticks. She would retrieve ball #1, but wouldn’t release it uless you shaowed her ball #2, then she dropped it and would then chase thew second ball, but wouldn’t give it up until you showed her ball #1. If you threw both balls, shewould try to stuff both in her mouth. The second one, half chocolate, half pit bull would only chase one ball, totally ignoring the other. Throw the ball, she retrieves it and drops it at your feet. If you threw two balls, she would always pick out the one that she had previously played with and always ignored the other. She would only play with the second ball if the first ball was missing, after all, retrieving is better thannot retrieving.

  8. Elspeth says

    @5 yep, that would be my dogs as well!

    I hope, and expect, that Generous Girl-child got more than a ball’s worth of entertainment, watching Cooper. Much as a ball-fetchin’ dog loves chasing that ball, most humans love watching the ball-dog-game. And Cooper got lots of exercise. And a fine time was had by all. Ain’t life just grand?

    On afternoons such as this, it is.

  9. patterson says

    The guy said they don’t know the difference

    I think some dogs like my collie divide the world into two categories, ball and non-ball. It doesn’t matter the shape or size, as long as it fits in the mouth and is thrown it is The Ball. At that point all else, even life and death are irrelevant.

  10. says

    Andrew – he’s a black lab – with a very chunky square head and puppy face, and gigantic paws, yet also low to the ground, so smallish for a lab. There are pictures of him on here. I’ll repost one.

    artymorty – the elephants – no not fetch, but other silly games. The African – Watoto, called Tote – didn’t play games, but the Asians did, especially the adult, Bamboo (called Boo). One game I made up with Boo was chasing her tail – she would turn in a tight circle while I tried to grab her tail, then I would spin around and grab her ear, and she would squeal joyously.

    Rodney – it was; the whole thing was so sweet. She looked so happy to give it to me…It was a lovely moment.

    Bruce – Cooper isn’t bitey at all, fortunately. On the other hand he’s exceedingly drooly – drooliest dog ever. His after breakfast routine is to come inside and hang around drooling for about 15 minutes. Drool spot drool spot drool spot, all over the place. I guess he’s remembering the breakfast.

    He is a foot-stepper-on though, and as I mentioned, those paws are BIG.

    Elspeth – I’m pretty sure Girl-child did get her reward! She got my delight, first of all, then she could see Cooper’s, then they all hung around for a bit watching him have fun, plus I said as he returned from the first plunge, “He thanks you” and they all laughed.

    It’s a nice place, Carmel beach. Everybody’s in a good mood.

    Gregory – well it’s not a real job, only part of a job – and Cooper isn’t my dog, he’s the job. It’s a good job!

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