I held tight to her collar, repeating “drop it” over and over while every minute or two Porter chose to start barking, giving his opinion of Aspen’s hold on HIS squeaky toy. Channeling my inner dog whisperer I didn’t pull on the toy itself, instead merely holding her in place by her collar, all while striving for patience.
This was my Saturday of the long weekend, locked in a battle of wills against an overly obsessed, 80lb Labrador retriever for a squeaky toy.
We had arrived the night before to Shorewood Rv Park, and the first impressions were, shall we say, not positive. Just one mile up from Barview Jetty, a park we’ve camped at several times, last minute plans in June had us booking this private park. When family health issues consequently canceled that weekend we were advised that no, they don’t give refunds for any reason, but we could re-book within one year. With money on the books and a long weekend on the calendar, we found ourselves at Shorewood.
Granted, while the couple on duty were extremely nice and the bathroom block spotless, we found ourselves a bit disturbed to see just how small our little piece of the park was. With many year round or permanent weekend residents, the rental options are few and far between in availability, but sadly few and much too close together in actual proximity!
Given a two page typed list of the rules (seriously!) and a single key for us both to share for the bathroom block, we glanced over the list as we set up, realizing we’d already broken three of them and we’d only been on site for 15 minutes. Our immediate list of transgressions included arriving after dark, feeding our dogs outside, and not double bagging their poop bags. Was this going to prove to be a loooong weekend, and not in the good sense?
Saturday did dawn bright and clear, making for a magnificent morning walk on the beach. After once again shunning the rules, we single bagged the black dogs poop, then proceeded to tie them to our clothesline like dog leash, therefore violating yet another rule, silently waiting for security to arrive and escort us off the property. With no immediate threat of dismissal, afternoon brought us back to the beach to spend a few luxurious hours lounging in the sand. Wanting to get out some pent up dog energy, I headed to the waters edge for a game of fetch with the black dogs while Jim set up our chairs and opened a beer.
Aspen is, under the best circumstances, a challenging dog to play fetch with. Early on her extreme over-drive for the game proved difficult to direct, and we suspected that her lack of leash skills and obsession with fetch may have been caused by that being her only true form of exercise in her pre-Delameter life. She will run over everyone and thing in her path in pursuit of a ball, and I need to keep her on leash if other pups are playing fetch on the beach to prevent her from completely taking over their game.
Porter is an off and on fetcher, preferring his squeeky toys, he cares nothing of a ball, and merely likes to bop about with his toy. Normally this is non-problematic as I throw long for Aspen, toss Porter his toy, and by the time Aspen has retrieved, I gather up Porters toy and we do it again. But not today.
Filled with far too much energy Aspen took to racing back with her own toy, only to nearly knock Porter over as she grabbed his toy out of his mouth. It became evident quickly that she was far too revved up and so I grabbed hold of the “tail” of Porters Wubba, preparing to simply keep that out of play for the time being. And that is when the battle began.
What is the pressure of an 80lb lab pulling in 4WD reverse?? I’ll probably never know, but I can tell you that 20 minutes into the standoff my back and legs were sore from leaning over, keeping one hand on the toy, while holding her by the collar to keep her going into back up mode, all while Porters leash was wrapped around my wrist.
By 30 minutes I dropped to my knees, not willing to release the toy to her, but too stiff to hold position. Porter kept incessantly barking, only to be shushed by me, as I attempted to channel Cesar Milan while praying for patience. By minute 45 I saw Jim heading our way just as Aspen, blessedly, finally gave up her hold on the toy. Success? Well, I did win that battle, although I feel there will be more to come!
We took advantage of near perfect beach weather to make the most of our crappy campground. We walked miles on the beach, spent much time lounging on the Adirondack chairs on the beach, and cooked up our first, and quite fantastic, dutch oven pizza.