Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Drop and Bark in Beverly Shores

Pippi takes the retriever part of her name very seriously -- no day is complete without at least 90 minutes of ball fetching. She not only seems to enjoy the movement, I think she likes the interaction with her humans. Chicago was heaven for a fetch-loving doggy like mine. Every couple of blocks there is a park or open green space where we could go at it with the Chukit. And that we did. The Midway in the morning, Bixler at midday or dusk. And in between we roamed the city streets, just enjoying the magnificently clear light (it was practically Pacific), the deep blue sky and, as you know if you have been reading my blog, the scenery.

Sometimes, when Pippi gets overly excited or perhaps a little tired, Fetch segues into Soccer of a Sort. This means foot wrestling with the dog for ball possession followed by a good kick, sending the ball off but not too far or too fast. At this stage in our play, ball conquering seems to be Pippi's goal. A natural blend of the two appears to be Pippi's new favorite game: Drop & Bark. The way this works is we hurl the ball with the Chukit or a kick and Pippi races after it. On the rebound, she drops the ball midway and then proceeds to bark her head off. Sometimes, if I turn around and begin walking away from her, Pippi will pick up the ball and bring it a little closer before lapsing back into her vocalization.

Needless to say, this is not my favorite game. It hurts my ears. Sometimes I try to modify it by walking towards Pippi and, thereby, limiting the raucous output. On a good day out on the Midway, we went from Dorchester to Woodlawn and back again 1.5 or 2 times. Better exercise for me plus warmer than standing still. See, maybe Pippi had my best interests at heart after all.

The day we went to Beverly Shores, all bets were off. It was so windy and bone-chillingly cold down at the beach that we had to keep moving. When we first reached the beach, Pippi went bounding into Lake Michigan's wavy, frigid water. I was frightened that between the undertow and the cold she would not be able to get out. But she quickly sized up the situation, realized that this lake was not warm like Yamanakako (her primary, previous lake experience) and raced back onto the sand. Despite her chilling dip, I think she quickly become the warmest of us all due to the energetic rounds of Drop & Bark that ensued following her swim.

We had the magnificent beach and the beautiful lake to ourselves. The lake was very active and the beach was quite narrow but that does not come as too much of a surprise this time of year. Hopefully, it will broaden by summer. It usually does. It is always funny to survey the landscape before the trees have regrown their leaves. You can see so much more. Houses I did not even know existed literally come out of the woodwork. The dunes' topographical outline is so sharp it looks like it could have been drawn with a pencil. Lake visibility skyrockets. And the colors -- blue sky, beige sand, silvery bark - are so vivid. Our house was in great shape. We should have spent the night but had our reasons for returning to the city.

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