"Getting To Know You," Doggy-Style

Sniffing On The Beach

You know how it is when you're out somewhere, and you find something really cool, and you're so totally wrapped up in checking it out, that somebody comes up to you, and you don't even notice they're around until they stick their nose up your butt?

No, I don't either, but as of today, Nelson does.

I decided to take the big guy for a walk along our favorite lonely beach this afternoon. Cold, wintry, gloomy day; I figured we'd have the place to ourselves and I could let him loose to run off a few megawatts of pent-up energy.

As I always do, I parked the truck and took a look down the beach before letting the Newf out. Surprisingly, there was a woman with two unleashed dogs heading our way from the west, so I put Nelson on leash and headed east.

He immediately became engrossed in sniffing along the dune line, and didn't notice the dogs barreling up the beach toward us. Their owner made no move to call them back, and the lead dog, a mid-sized black mix with a shaggy coat and a long collie nose, ran right up to Nelson. With his own snout buried in a snowbank, and the noise of the waves masking any sound, our big fellow was completely oblivious to the other dog's approach.

I stood by to see what happened, and the collie mix bored that sharp proboscis right up into the target. Still, Nelson kept snuffling in the snow- whatever critter had died down there must have been pretty ripe.

"One-alligator, two-alligator," I counted silently; then on three-alligator, the hind-end nerve signals finally made it to Nelson's preoccupied brain. He straightened up to full Newfoundland dignity, turned around in disbelief, and glared a silent but unmistakable canine, "I beg your pardon!"

The collie mix suddenly understood that he was only dealing with one small section of a much larger elephant. He spun around and ran back to Mommy faster than a TV newsman who'd just gotten word of a pretty white chick gone missing two counties over.

I had Nelson sit, and we waited till the bunch got closer, then I tried to tell the woman what was going on between wheezing gasps of laughter. All the while the collie mix and his mostly-Husky pal stood behind Mom and barked, "Don't you come near us, you overgrown freak!"

Poor Nelson was thoroughly perplexed; first one dog says, "Want to play proctologist? I go first!" and then both of them are yelling, "Go away, we don't want to play with a big dumb kid like you!"

"Come on, old buddy," I consoled him. "There's more good dead stuff down the beach. Let's go find it."


Next: Mile-Long Tug Of War