Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Camping With Ollie and the Beach Poodles: Part 2


If there was a best part of the camping trip, it was finding this almost deserted beach and enormous dog park. We had a giant fenced in place for Ollie to run until he dropped, and occasionally, he met some new friends.

It was a short walk from the fenced in area to a section of beach where folks were letting their dogs have a free run. I wasn't quite ready for Ollie to go running free...since I was pretty sure I would never catch him, and I wasn't at all positive he would come back to a couple of old folks that were hardly worth chewing on.

We had the two of us, trying to control one little rowdy puppy, and then this old lady strolls up on the beach with 3 different size poodles and just let them go. The big black one had to be the single most frou-frou dog I have ever seen in person. The dogs were nice and loved Ollie. He got all of the dog attention he could want that day. The lady turned out to be a groomer (shocker!), and she gave us advice about what Ollie was going to need. Turns out that our puppy's coat takes extra work...and perhaps body armor for the groomer.

The big surprise for me was that Dharma, the black standard poodle that did not seem to belong on some dirty little beach, was the nicest dog I've ever met. She was quickly my best buddy, once I got over the hair-do. Ollie didn't mind the attention I got from Dharma, he was too busy working over 'Stretch', the toy poodle, who was a big ball of fur. Every once in a while Dharma would come over and nose Ollie upside down to show him that size matters in the dog world.

 Ollie found that the beach was the best place in the whole world...and he still doesn't know about getting wet. You can dig anywhere! And there is so much cool stuff to bite and smell! He sat quietly at attention while he watched a young woman with a Brittany Spaniel throwing a ball into the ocean and the dog swimming out to get it. He's not ready yet, but soon Ollie will be a wet, muddy mess anytime we get near water....just not too soon, please?


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Camping With Ollie and the Beach Poodles: Part 1

I don't know if we just get lucky or I really know how to predict extreme weather. Almost every time I plan a camping trip, we get a hurricane. I cancelled the last one after it appeared that the hurricane was going to land right where we were to pitch our trailer. The time before, we bee-lined home right before the storm hit up in Atlanta. Right now, it seems like Orlando is the only place that was safe from hurricanes in 2020. 

Slightly shy of a hurricane was the cold front that came through while we were camping this week. We pulled into Fort DeSoto Park in Saint Petersburg, Florida, on a nice winter day, just cool enough to let Pam wear a jacket and crocs. Ollie, the pup liked this place that had a million things to taste and smell. The photo above was taken on the first day, of what I expected to be a few days of biking, paddleboarding, and dog walks on the beach. There was charcoal, firewood, and the fantasy of romantic evenings, watching the calm waters of the Gulf lapping up on our own private beach. We had good food in store, plenty of ice, and I was getting pretty good at dealing with the whole camper thing without looking like a newbie while setting up. I'm still considering what I've seen some other older couples do: buy little two way radios, so Pam can whisper "NO! Your OTHER left!" while I'm backing the trailer into to a patch of low hanging tree limbs. This would be preferable to the current method of Pam yelling out her instructions while the neighboring campers pull up chairs to watch the best entertainment available..

The afternoon sun didn't last long, and the breeze was picking up to the point that I was thinking I might not get a chance to put Ollie on the paddleboard and show him that he was definitely a waterdog. It was about then that I met our next door campground neighbors. It was a couple of women, either of which looked like they could handle this outdoor stuff much better than I could. They had a trailer that was called "Vintage" and looked much like a very cool new version of something old. As they introduced themselves, they mentioned the coming rain and wind. At the time I was thinking of a light breeze and some sprinkles. I was pretty wrong about that. Most of the night we spent cuddled on the small bed watching our latest binge-show, while the wind screamed and the rain pounded the metal roof and sides of Bambi.

Ollie was great and when I got up early to walk him, I found out what we had in store...30 mph winds and temperature so cold that the jacket I almost left home wasn't enough. Pam murmured that I had promised her beautiful weather with no rain and she wasn't getting up until I could produce it. I was already looking at a long crooked tree branch that was hanging over the camper and creaking like it wasn't going to last the day. I really needed a shower and a shave, but it was looking like it was going to be a long day in small quarters with a puppy that had a blood thirst...