Some of you out there in Bloggerland know us personally and some do not. Those that do not know us haven’t met Opal. She’s our eight year old boxer border collie mix who when we aren’t around sneaks an orange word or two into our blog. So, we would like to tell you something about our “daughter”.
Opal is a wuss. Never have we seen a dog that is a bigger wuss. She’s afraid of her own shadow. If we set some “people food” in a dish on the floor and while she’s eating, two dishes clank together, she runs and hides. So, it came as no surprise to us when we first took her to the Outer Banks that she was scared of the waves. She very tentatively approached the water. She took a drink and immediately spit it out. The waves weren’t more than a foot high. When a wave came in and “chased” her she took off running and never looked back!
A year later she reacted in a similar fashion to the gentle movement of calm water at Lake Wateree. After much coaxing Steve did get her to come in and play with him. She never went in deep enough to get her belly wet. As long as she didn’t need to go in the water she loved the beach. Rolling on her back in the sand still sends her into Nirvana. She’ll run, lay her head down and slide into the stuff like she’s sliding into home plate! We call it making “sand angels”. Fun for her and us.
Watching squirrels, especially the chirpy ones, is another of her favorite pastimes. She’ll watch a squirrel run up a tree and then stand there and stare up the tree for ten or fifteen minutes without moving. That squirrel has already jumped from one treetop to another and is long gone. We call it watching “squirrel TV.” Yesterday, we were sitting inside the trailer and the squirrels were running around on the roof. She sat here looking up with the same dumb expression on her face. We figured she was listening to “squirrel radio”. OK, so we do tend to see her in human terms.
She’s a good dog even if she is a wuss. She loves going for walks. Being “off-leash” is even better. At most of the state parks there is a leash restriction. We have been known on occasion to break the rules and let her off leash when there is no one around. She generally stays right with us and comes immediately when called. Imagine our surprise here at Huntington Beach when we took her for a walk on the beach and after making a few “sand angels” she chased a seagull into the water. Right up to her belly! (Steve’s comments are in blue). I took off my shoes and rolled up my pant legs and got into the surf with her. She had a grand old time. . The next time we took her out there she almost dragged me into the water. We ran and splashed around a bit but I didn’t stay in too long. It is after all January and even here in South Carolina the water is chilly.
Chari and I were getting ready to go out for the afternoon. While Chari was in the shower, I took Opal out for a quick jaunt. From the campground there is a wooden boardwalk that goes through a patch of woods then over the dunes to the beach. While crossing the dunes I could see several pelicans flying out ahead of us. When we got to the beach itself there were hundreds of birds just beyond the breakers. Later we heard that a huge school of herring had been washed inland from Murrell’s Inlet to Litchfield. Most of the birds were seagulls and pelicans, some sitting and floating on the water, but many more flying and diving. Opal saw them and headed full throttle for the water. I had to run to keep her from pulling my arm off. There was no one for two hundred yards in either direction so I unclipped her leash. She ran into the water and dove right into the breakers to get at those pelicans! Of course she didn’t get anywhere close. They have wings and Opal doesn’t. That didn’t stop her from trying. She stayed right in front of me. When I saw someone heading in our direction I’d call her back. She very obediently came to me to get hooked up again. When they had passed I unhooked her again. She was off running and chasing those birds. Running, splashing and diving right through the breakers!
When she looked like she was getting too far away from me, I called her back. She stopped and looked at me. Then she gave me a look as if to say, “Oh no… you’re not putting that darn thing on me again!” And off she went. She ran into the water, chasing pelicans and never looked back. She ran down the beach so far that all I could see was a dark dot about half a mile in front of me. “Oh well,” I said to myself, “Chari and I aren’t going anywhere this afternoon. I’ll be hours getting her back. If a park ranger comes along he’ll probably give me a ticket for having her off-leash.”
I don’t know if Opal realized she was so far away from me or if she started chasing birds in my direction but she was working her way back up the beach. When she got close enough I called her over and went into my “Alpha Dog” mode. I chastised her and forced her down onto her back into a subservient posture. She looked at me with a glow in her eyes and a look that said “I don’t care if you don’t give me dessert for a week. That was FUN!!!”
Sometimes you know you are going to get into trouble and you just don’t care. Whatever happens is worth it. This was sooooo much fun!