So, we’re back! It’s been a week since we posted, and for good reason. This year, Scout’s birthday fell at a convenient time: our annual vacation to Kiawah Island, SC. If you’ve never been to Kiawah,
you should hurry over that’s okay with me. I’m not going to tell you go to. In fact, I’m going to tell you that it’s a horribly ugly place that you’d hate. It’s utterly devoid of things like gentle ocean waves, beautiful dunes upon which you can occasionally spot deer as you walk to the ocean, bike lanes outnumbering car lanes, moss-draped trees overhanging the roads, and a large pod of dolphins who take up residence in the marshes and will do amazing things while you kayak past them. It’s none of those things, and you don’t ever want to go there, because I want it all to myself! ;)
Though it does also have some killer mosquitoes, by the way. One hundred percent honesty there.
Anyway, Scout’s birthday fell during our vacation, and this year we were able to rent a place that was pet-friendly. This meant that Scout and her beloved cousin Edward were able to share in their first ocean-side vacation together. And boy, did they love it. Every moment they were at home together they were playing or cuddling on the couch together.
After seeing the above image, we owe you a confession. We forgot our camera. I know, we’re horrible people. We were kicking ourselves the whole time, but we worked up until the moment we left, so our packing was kind of lacking. We did have our phones, though, so we still snagged pictures, but they’ll all be the same size and carry the same hint of camera-phone graininess that’s been in my photos lately.
All joking aside, Kiawah really is our favorite place in the world. We try to go once a year and unwind, and it was wonderful to get to bring Scout along this time. There’s a portion of the beach that’s off-leash, so Scout got to run free with other dogs and enjoy the waves.
There was a dock on the island where B’s family could fish while we watched. Since Scout had never experienced a dock, we brought her down with us. We wanted to expose her to as many new scenarios as we could. She took to the dock without issue, but we kept her on the leash because she constantly tried to jump into the water. (And because technically she wasn’t allowed on the dock. We cheated. No one saw.) ;)
At one point, a pod of dolphins came by, feeding on shrimp in the shallows, and Scout became confused and protective. While the rest of us tried to video them and snap photos, Scout barked and barked. As much as I was afraid she’d scare the dolphins off, they didn’t care a bit.
A few days into the vacation, B and I noticed something about Scout and her leash. We have a friend who said once that her Labrador is much more protective while on leash than she is when she’s off-leash. This seems to be true of Scout. I suppose we haven’t had many scenarios in the past, so we never thought much about it. But at the beach there were people everywhere, and they always felt free to reach out and pet Scout without asking. She’d start barking at them before they got close enough to touch her, but if she was off-leash it was a whole different thing. Off-leash, Scout would run up to people and greet them herself. We realized that off-leash it’s just like the dog park, only with water. She’s happy and carefree and comfortable. On the leash, though, she feels like she’s in “walk mode.” It’s more serious, and she won’t let just anyone approach us. Anyone else’s dogs do this too?
The shower area was tricky in this respect. We’d try to finagle Scout under the water to rinse the sand off of her (way too similar to bath time for Scout’s enjoyment), all while keeping her on the leash, and suddenly there’d be strange hands on her. She’d whip around and start barking at someone as if they’d just broken into our house. It always left us a mix of embarrassed and stressed. We were obviously busy wrangling our doesn’t-want-a-bath dog under chilly, sandy water, and our dog is obviously uncomfortable, so why pick that time to reach around and pat her on the head? Though it was embarrassing for our sweet dog to react like that, she kinda had a point. Don’t bust in on someone while they’re bathing!
Thankfully by the last two days of the trip we’d found another area that had a dog-washing station—so much easier! We took lots of video we’ll post once we’ve processed them.
In the meantime, I’m happy to report that Zoey didn’t have a single accident while we were away. Now that’s something to celebrate!