Monday, September 28, 2009

Life is a Beach

We just returned from a one week trip with Niko to Myrtle Beach.  We were initially apprehensive of the long drive and whether Niko would disturb other condo dwellers.  Thankfully, he passed both tests with flying colors.

It was before sunrise when we departed home.  Niko, being the smart dog that he is, sensed something was going on.  Early as it was, he sat quietly in the living room watching us  bring things outside to the car. The drive was 13 hours long and Niko behaved so well. Not a bark or whimper. We took potty breaks every 3-4 hours. He slept a lot. I was very impressed with how accommodating rest areas are with poop bags. (I never had a dog before so I never took notice)

Niko was well received by everyone at the condo. We brought his crate to sleep in, along with some of his toys so he wouldn't be homesick.  There was plenty of love and attention to go around for Niko. We all gladly took turns taking him for walks on the beach.  By the 2nd day, he was able to lead me to the path to get to the beach. 

From prior experiences, Niko hates water the most. He screams during baths and ran away when we introduced him to the lake over a month ago. Knowing this, we slowly introduced him to the beach. The first night, we took him for a walk and he experienced the new texture of sand. He liked walking in the sand very much and he heard the waves. The next day, we brought him to see the beach in daylight.  He didn't like the water at all. He ran the other direction, pulling us with him. As the week progressed, his fear of the water did go away a little. The fact that waves recede back into the ocean probably helps. He learned that although the water came to him, it also washes back into the ocean immediately. We took him on many walks and on the last day, i noticed that he actually went towards the water when it was washing away- like he was chasing it away. I'm glad to see him battle his fear in his own brave little way.

Niko found an opportunity at the beach even though he doesn't enjoy swimming - digging in the sand! He was a rambunctious little one, pacing around my chair, sniffing, and digging. He dug so earnestly it was entertaining to watch. He had no issue with getting sand all over his muzzle. He made hacking noises every so often to cough sand out, but that wasn't going to stop his mission to dig a hole all the way to china... Here is a picture of him resting next to his hole. There were times when he dug a hole just to rest his head in. Probably to shield himself from the hot sun? It amazes me how smart this dog is.

Here he is sitting back with me as we watched Ed fish.  

When he dug, he found a treasure- a clam shell...

Myrtle Beach was a good learning and fun experience for Niko. He was exposed to more people in smaller living quarters, the beach, and the southern accent (which i enjoy hearing too). Everyone was very nice to Niko. I must say that we met more people who knew that he is a Shiba Inu. I don't know if it's because he's growing and looking more like one or if people down south are more learned on the breed. 

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