First beach holiday

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Brian went to the seaside for the first time. I’m so proud of my little boy. The car journey, which I had dreaded the most, went rather smoothly, no travel sickness, no whining, he slept almost all the way but had a few sneak peeks out of the window. He’s getting more confident every day!

We make sure that travelling in the car means something pleasant is about to happen. I want Brian to have new experiences to reduce stress when he encounters something for the first time. The more new things he sees, can bark, sniff and wee at, the less likely he is to run away when he sees something he’s never seen before. Even now he understands that unknown might as well be wonderful.

 

He’s learning a lot from Lily, but she takes comfort in his presence as well. They constantly check what the other one is doing, even if Lily is more likely to go on doing her own stuff while Brian unashamedly just copies her every move.

 

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Brian was overwhelmed by the alien and fascinating smells, the taste of seaweed, little crabs and water (probably all salty but he had to lick them to know). He met lots of dogs who were not afraid of water-which means he should at least try and pretend he isn’t either.

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We met a lot of people, too. He’s learning to accept people’s presence, but this will be a long process. Brian might never be perfectly comfortable with strangers, but I’m sure with time he’ll understand they are harmless.

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Unfortunately, the holiday was marred by a horrible accident: I saw a dog being run over by a car. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, the car was driving slowly, the man who was looking after the dog had his back to the dog for a moment and the poor little thing just walked directly under the wheel.

I can’t get it out of my head. Paranoid as I am, I know accidents happen. But when I saw the dog dying I knew I will never get rid of this image. And I willΒ  keep an eye on my dogs when we’re out because their lives are more precious to me than my own.

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26 thoughts on “First beach holiday

  1. These photos *really* make me smile πŸ™‚

    How old is Brian now? Pixie is 8 months and had a rough start, and she is absolutely terrified of everything. Our oldest dog used to be very fearful of strangers and over the years with lots of training we saw unbelievable improvement, but even at his worst he was nowhere near as scared as Pixie. I have no idea how she will be in the future as I’ve honestly never met a dog as fearful as her.

    Finally I’m really sorry to hear about the accident you saw. Almost four years ago now we passeda dog that had collapsed and died (it was a Bulldog that had severely overheated on a walk on a hot day). We had no idea what was going on at first, then heard people talking as we passed and figured it out and it was just awful. Still think about it from time to time and it was years ago.

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    1. Brian is almost five months old now. It’s definitely a challenge to work with a fearful dog but they do get better. It’s easy to make them very dependent on us (as it’s hard to leave them on their own, it’s easy to avoid every new situation because it makes them scared, it’s also easy to unwillingly condition them to feel anxious by rewarding this mental state). Comforting a scared dog is fine (it’s a myth you always have to ignore fear) but only when the dog is actively looking for safety in you. Reacting to a new situation with fear should be ignored (nothing is happening here) or ‘laughed off’- saying something like ‘you silly girl’ in a soft voice can work really well. There are loads of good sources of information for fearful dogs owners, as there are so many individual cases with individual solutions to their individual problems…I hope Pixie will grow up to be an inquisitive, happy dog πŸ™‚ And you’re right about the accident: it is hard to forget it 😦

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  2. So lovely to see them enjoy themselves by the sea and great to hear Brian travels well. Dogs need to be on the lead and under close control near traffic and it makes me sad when another life is lost because an owner is not paying attention.

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    1. Well, I’ll definitely be super careful now. We loved the mini holiday πŸ™‚ And sometimes it’s good to stop and think how fortunate I actually am. It usually easy to moan but appreciating the ‘here and now’ and ‘good enough’ can be much harder. Well, I probably sound like some weird spiritual guru now!

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  3. So happy to see Brian and Lily having fun and Brian experiencing so many new things and people! So sad about the pup who was run over. I get a bit paranoid with Styx around cars although he has learned to ignore them it still makes me uncomfortable. Love these sweet fur babies of yours! X

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  4. I just couldn’t write anything because the image of the dog being run over kept recurring. Years ago, I got into a car accident because a dog suddenly appeared right in front of my car. Luckily, I was able to swerve, ended up in the ditch, the car behind me help me along towards the ditch by hitting me in in the back, but the dog was ok!
    However, I am very happy to see those photos of happy Lily and Brian having a great time!

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      1. I hope so too, but there are so many animals, not only dogs, who are not so fortunate as to have people looking after them! What bugs me is people relocating and just putting their pets out on the street when not taking those pets with them. Florida is a transient state,and there is too much of it going on here!

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  5. The events you recount are so ….illustrative? of how Things Are Now. You get the sweet with the bitter in a single bite…..I’m not always doing so great with that, and Jack puts EVERYTHING in his mouth no matter what, after all we have to know what things are like….. But perhaps it is to understand how everything is so intertwined and inseparable. Maybe, even though you can’t get it out of your mind, it is for you to know that your presence and sight of it made some…overall difference for the better. Somehow. Brian still devilishly handsome. If *I* were a dog I’d want you as my mum.

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    1. I think life is learning and every experience, if we let it, can teach us something. Sad as it is, death is part of life, but I’ll do everything possible to prevent it from coming too early – being perfectly aware that some things might never be prevented.

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    1. He did pick up lots of shells, we took them home and I hoped they could just rest in the garden…alas, he has probably brought every single one and buried it in the cushions since (on second thought: there might be some left, I have a strange sensation of being surrounded by shells) πŸ™‚

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