Mid-December, we went razor clamming again at Grayland Beach. Such an aptly named town, since this time of year, the whole place is in shades of blue-gray. It was challenging clamming- very windy, and the wind blew a little skim of surf up over the sand, making it nearly impossible to see clam “shows.” We finally resorted to just digging in random spots, the suction created from pulling up one core of sand would dry out a radius, often revealing where nearby clams were hiding. We got our limit both days, with patience and persistence; but heard from the espresso stand lady on the way out of town that many people were disappointed with their haul.

The collies got some daily beach running.

The advantage of the winter weather is that the beach is deserted during the day. Which means it’s reasonably ok to have dogs off leash, with no risk of bothering anybody. (It’s still technically illegal, but the beach police seem to drive by and ignore.) The dogs, of course, don’t mind the miserable weather a bit!

Kirk procured some kind of giant tennis ball from working at a client’s home. Oddly, they had one of these balls plugging the toilet hole of a bathroom remodel in progress. He commented on it, and they explained they find them at dog parks and have a huge collection of them. The next day, they brought him two to take home! This one was stored safely on top of the refrigerator. We can’t have dog toys openly available in our house, or the dogs will drive us mad. So they are saved for special occasions and specified play times only, then put away out of sight and reach.

Maggie wears a neoprene hunting dog “swimsuit” to help her keep her body core warm when ocean swimming. This is because she is insane, and she will easily fetch and swim herself into a hypothermic state. It’s hard for us to catch, because she won’t stop doing anything until she’s nearly ready to collapse and die; unlike normal dogs who will abstain from doing something that’s beginning to make them uncomfortable. The swim vest really works- even after vigorous swimming, when we take it off, her torso is dry and warm. I make her wear this even at home, if the weather is very cold and we’re going to let her swim in the drainage ditches. Gene doesn’t need one, as she just knows not to over-do things; she is much more conservative, in so many ways.

We’ve taken them to saltwater beaches enough now that I’ve learned: I give Maggie an immediate dose of Pepto Bismol afterwards, and both dogs a bowl of milk. This seems to settle their tummies and mitigate the worst of the effects of ingesting copious amounts of saltwater and fine sand- the perils of having so much fun!

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