Soon after arriving in Seattle, we discovered the dog beach in Edmonds. It appears to lie in secret as you pass by the rows and rows of boats in dry dock at the Marina. At the end of the road is a long fence, which stretches to the water’s edge among a pile of rocks. Look past the fence and there it is. A beach set aside specifically for dogs!
We didn’t have dog beaches in Michigan, so visiting this beach for the first time was nothing short of magical for me.
My husband and I were quiet, each deep in our own thoughts, as we wandered through the gate and onto the beach.
We walked by an old apple tree, which was providing shade for some of the dogs who had been played out. We passed a cement pad where was an old beaten up, blue plastic swimming pool for the dogs, plus water spigots for sandy paws.
We found an old, bleached, washed up log to sit on near the Sound and tried to take it all in. This must be what dog heaven is like; dogs running in the sand, swimming in the water, fetching balls that don’t even belong to them, people petting each other’s dog and dogs just being dogs with such enthusiasm it warmed my heart.
No one was yelling or scolding the dogs for jumping or being messy. No one was telling the dogs to stop barking. No one was even fazed that the dogs were digging holes in the sand. It was amazing.
We sat there for over an hour just watching the dogs and their parents. I felt like a student in a new school; unsure if I would fit in, hesitant to approach new people, wondering if others automatically assumed that I didn’t belong there.
I need not have worried.
An elderly husky wandered over to where we were sitting. She nudged my hand with her nose, asking for some pets. Not knowing if it was bad form or not, I obliged the old girl’s request and she closed her eyes and sighed a little. She then turned away from me, dug a hole in the sand, which was nice and cool, then settled in for a nice nap, just a few feet away from where I sat.
The rules of engagement at a dog park/beach are new to me. I don’t know if it’s ok to correct another person’s dog; if it’s ok to snuggle with a dog I don’t know; if it’s ok to throw a ball for a beckoning dog. What I discovered is that the dogs make the rules at the dog beach. Their parents are not judgmental and as long as the dog initiates the contact, I was welcome to play and love and pet as many dogs as I possibly could; and I totally took advantage of the opportunities I was given.
The dogs ruled and I finally found a little bit of peace.
While I have so many more places to visit, so many more things to discover about this dog friendly life style I now live in, when it overwhelms me, I go to Edmonds and visit the dogs who are romping on the beach. Even if they ignore me, it’s a grounding experience to just watch the dogs be dogs; happy dogs who are loved and respected.
Holly Cook is an award winning pet sitter from Michigan who has recently relocated to Seattle with her husband, Tony, her 2 dogs Hazel and Mozi and her 2 cats, Chrissy and Polly. She is a certified K9 Obedience Instructor, published author of several articles and Mum to one son, Cyle. She owns and operates Special Pet Care Services, LLC, with offices in Michigan, Washington and Tennessee and is working on a new project in Seattle.
Holly will write about her experiences adjusting to dog friendly Seattle after moving here from Michigan.