I’m generally not a fan of the big city, preferring the tranquility of a quiet, country locale, but I knew there would be at least a few stops in populated places this trip so I tried to be patient during our stay in Los Angeles. For the first three days Chico and I hung out in the trailer and, other than one nerve-racking walk to the fairgrounds where the horse expo was happening, it was pretty relaxing. Day four we all got in the truck for something they were calling “dog day”. I wasn’t sure how riding in a truck could possibly play into my idea of a “dog day” but I was willing to go along with the excursion. We drove for almost an hour through the most frightening kind of traffic hell I’ve ever experienced—ten lanes of cars and trucks and vans and motorcycles flying along at speed in both directions, changing lanes, merging on and off, zipping overhead on bridges.
Much to my surprise, we made it to our destination unscathed—beyond a few more grey muzzle hairs—and parked along a stretch of green grass and sidewalk. It didn’t look like much and I wondered again how this was “dog day”, but when we went over the grass berm, there it was…the ocean. I remembered it from the last time we travelled, when we visited a little beach crowded with dogs and people, with waves rolling in and a few crazy canines actually playing in them. But this beach was different. It stretched for miles in both directions and there were people and dogs here too, but scattered, some of them so far away to be just small dots against the sand.
When we reached the edge of the water the leashes came off. Oh the freedom! It had been two weeks since we’d been allowed to run free and I immediately ran at Chico biting at the backs of his legs to get him to move, inciting a small wrestling match on the wet sand. That is until the water came up and touched my feet. Ack! I’d forgotten that the waves come after you. I remained vigilant after my initial lapse of attention. We walked for an hour and a half, meeting some fellow beach-goers on our way. Teresa and Nollind took off their shoes and walked in the water but I didn’t join them, preferring to stay a little ways up the beach. Even Chico didn’t seem sure of the moving water, and he’s earned the nickname Otter back at home along the canal.
Such a magnificent afternoon for man and dog called for a repeat, so we booked an extra day at the Pomona Fairplex RV Park and returned to Huntington Dog Beach the next day. It was foggy and kind of cool that afternoon, perfect for mock fighting with other dogs, and after a few of these sparring sessions I was feeling pretty brave so I ran into the moving water for a drink. Blech! What did they put in the water? I tasted it again. Nasty!I looked to Teresa and Nollind who seemed to be finding the whole thing amusing and called to me to come out of the water. But I need a drink! Down the beach a ways, after another dehydrating play session, I tried the water again, this time taking a couple of big gulps before I realized it had the same foul taste and wasn’t in the least bit thirst quenching. I ran to Teresa who often carries a water bottle for us but she didn’t have it. Did they expect me to drink from the swill pond?
It took an hour to walk the full length of the beach to a sign that had a drawing of a dog with a large red circle around it and a bar through the middle. Chico seemed to interpret it as a “dogs pee here” sign and immediately did so, much to everyone’s amusement. I sampled the water one more time on the way back to the truck at yet another spot but it had the same horrible taste. By suppertime I wasn’t feeling so good and didn’t eat. I knew that water wasn’t okay. I wasn’t much better at breakfast the next morning so skipped that too. Luckily it was a stay-at-home-do-laundry-clean-trailer day so I was able to rest and felt well enough to eat dinner that night. Note to self: always sample water carefully before taking a drink. Or, better yet, let Chico drink first.