Well, after some patient jiggling and cajoling, I got the light to come on, and the computer to run, so I can share Kiff's big trip to the beach. Our little Kiffmeister had a rough start in life, and came to us a battered timid little guy. It has been a long process to get him to warm up and share his joy with us, but he has been making serious progress, so we decided to bring to him to the beach.
He still isn't particularly good at coming when called, so I was nervous about letting him run free. But after some persuasion, I let him loose and this was how he responded.
Personally, that looks like pure joy to me. He pranced across the sand, exulting in his freedom, but also in security. When he first came home with us, anytime we took him outside he would look for a place to hide. Usually this meant curling up in the dirt behind the bushes around the periphery of the yard. What a difference seven months can make.
He has not changed his opinions about water, however. We tried to get him to come and at least experience the edge of the ocean, but as he followed me I did the thing my grandparents always warned me not to do. I turned my back on the ocean. I wanted to capture his first salty sea steps, but ignoring what was heading in our direction, I didn't realize there was a large sneaky wave coming, and it nearly toppled Kiff completely. Needless to say, from that point on he kept as far away from the pesky water as possible.
The Oregon Coast can be quite unpredictable, but this day, which had been gray and cloudy at home when we headed out, turned out to be spectacular. Nearly seventy degrees, almost no wind, and blue skies encouraged us to try out the frigid waters, despite Kiff's rejection. We let him have his space to romp across the sand. It was encouraging to see that, even if he was up the beach as close to the cliff as possible, he kept level with us, always checking to see that we were together.
Everything was fine and dandy, until we noticed the buzzards starting to circle. While they aren't likely to scoop up an active ten pound dog, the way they kept coming back and swooping in for a closer look - first one, then two, then three ugly scavengers - convinced us that it was time to turn back, and keep a close eye on the pup. We even put him on the leash a few times when they got particularly close.
So we bid adieu to the lovely beach and headed back home, thankful for Kiff's experience with freedom, and encouraged by his acceptance of our protection.