Story telling from Australia
We took a couple of days off this week and drove three hours south of Sydney to Jervis Bay, an impulsive decision prompted by a forecast of twenty-five degrees in the last week of autumn and the availability of a dog friendly house offering a thirty-five per cent discount for two nights mid-week.
‘You love salt water swimming,’ I urged, ‘and Maggie’s never seen the ocean before.’
It was a long drive for a two-night stay but as the ocean hove into view it seemed worth it. The weather was as predicted, the sea temperature a balmy twenty-two degrees and the beach, when we finally arrived, was practically deserted…which was just as well.
Maggie went berserk.
Her response to the sight of ocean waves (even the shallow, barely perceptible lick of spray that passes for a wave in sheltered Jervis Bay) was to attack.
Forgetting age and arthritic hips, our elderly dingo raced up and down the beach, barking ferociously at every dribble of water that trickled onto the sand. When barking didn’t work she went in for the kill and tried biting the waves, snapping her jaws at the elusive sea foam that advanced then retreated.
No amount of soothing, cajoling, discipline or distraction made a jot of difference.
After twenty exhausting minutes we admitted defeat, left the beach and climbed the hill to our retreat, where Maggie vomited several litres of seawater (thankfully outside) and promptly fell asleep in front of the fire.
There were several dogs on the beach the next day, all of them running after sticks, chasing balls and swimming happily in the ocean, so we tried again. The same thing happened. And carrying Maggie into the water only encouraged her to swim back to shore, shake herself off then turn back and attack the waves with even greater ferocity.
I suspect she hated every minute of her beachside holiday. For once, she was probably glad to get back to Sydney.