A Dog’s Day at the Beach
As a wannabe photographer I get asked to photograph events for friends all the time. These photographic excursions have taken me to fishing tournaments, girls’ softball games, birthday parties and surfing venues at various locations around the State. The subject matter is usually one or all of the kids that grew up with my nephew and for the most part the kids have been my favorite subject matter. One of my favorite venues are the surf shoots, the sand and salt air create havoc with my equipment but a day at the beach is always a welcome adventure.
The joy I get doing these beach shoots pales in comparison to that of the joy my yellow lab Benny gets from a visit to the beach. He seems to sense a visit to the beach miles before we get there and by the time we get the truck parked he is so jacked up he can barely contain his enthusiasm, I generally have to put a leash on him until he calms down enough for us to begin our trek to the sand.
Obviously the purpose of these shoots is to try to get shots of the guys bustin some sweet moves and when the swell is big it can make for some exciting photo shoots. But… When there is no swell watching a bunch of surfers float around and shoot the breeze can be boring as hell. Enter Benny… by now he has calmed down enough to listen to my commands and is usually sitting right next to me trying to anticipate my next move, he has already visually marked everything that moves and has located several possible sites that may contain something to retrieve.
You want action, you got it! Just let Benny off the leash and within minutes he will be soaking wet, he will have been to and surveyed all of his possible items to retrieve locations and he will have made friends with one or several of the many ladies that spend their afternoons at the beach usually by presenting them with a stick or a ball with a look that says if you throw this I’ll go get it. The sucker er… I mean person Benny chooses to be his object of torture inevitably looks to me and asks if it is ok to throw whatever Benny has presented to them for him to retrieve. I usually respond with something like it’s your arm or sure, but you’ll be sorry and retreat to the nearest rock to begin photographing the fun.
To put it simply retrieving is to Benny as breathing is to every living creature. To say he is obsessed would be a gross understatement, Benny’s main purpose in life is to retrieve period and the beach is Benny’s favorite retrieving venue. Plenty of water, plenty of sand, plenty of sticks and wayward balls and finally plenty of suckers…er…people to throw whatever retrieve worthy Item Benny has presented them with.
As Benny’s owner and friend I have to keep an eye on him 24/7, he is extremely fast and can cover a vast stretches of real estate in a hurry. When he has finally worn out the arm of his poor unsuspecting dummy launcher, he has been known to surf, climb cliffs and if I do not watch him carefully, swim out and to join the surfers in their gab fest. Now all of this sounds great and does make for some great photo ops but… his escapades can also be heart stopping, OH MY GOD!!! did he just do that moments. You would think that after going over the falls on a wave or losing his grip and plunging 20’ off the rock face he just climbed would discourage him of these mad cap antics but it doesn’t. If there were a X Games for dogs, Benny would be a gold medal athlete. I’m afraid all I can do is keep a close eye out, remind the people he is playing with that he will go through whatever extreme to retrieve what you throw him and as I have had to do on several occasions put him back on the leash for a much needed time out. And finally… I think this world would be a much better place if people enjoyed living as much as Benny enjoys the beach so take a break and take the dog to the beach and if you don’t have a dog no worries, just go to the beach, you can borrow Benny, trust me he won’t mind. (click on pictures for a larger view)