My first dogs were the family dogs; Winnie, a little dark dachshund mix, Sasha and Tina, two Samoyeds. I remember laying in “the puppy shed” which morphed from a playhouse when Tina was bred to “Frosty” another local Samoyed. The smell of small puppies in the puppy shed is a pleasant smell, along with cedar shavings or fresh hay. Sometimes Tina would try to move the puppies somewhere more appropriate, like in the dirt under the barn. Maybe she knew she would have to deal with all of the curious children. Several times there were puppies for sale at Christmastime. My own first dog was a miniature poodle and I have no idea why I chose that breed or size of dog. She was my 4-H project, as was my first 25 year old boney Welch Mountain Pony, a pinto we called Molly Merrylegs because of her curly fetlocks. By the time I had my white poodle, Tiki, I was without a mount (Molly had one too many episodes of painful colic and had to be put down) and thought I would breed her and sell puppies till I earned enough to buy a horse, which, with the help of my parents, I did do. Tiki was smart and easily won pretty blue Rosettes at the local Fair. She got up near the window and howled when I left town for school. Mom never could figure out how she knew I was going to be gone a long time.
I had Poco with me for awhile, another dachshund type dog, then was dogless till my kids were half grown when we went to the other end of the spectrum and got an English Mastiff. First one, Maxine, psychotic. Novelty something disorder. Genetic. Had to give the poor thing up for fear she would bite a visiting teenager out of fear. Did better homework and got Moby who stayed with us, them, R and I until he died at home two years ago.
Big decision to get another dog, particularly when we knew retirement and travel were on the agenda. But I was mad about duck hunting and needed a bird dog. Also not too keen on vacuuming. After scouting around bought a brown Standard Poodle puppy locally. Very bright. Does everything. Even got her bird dog training done with some professional assistance. Goes everywhere with us, including on the paddleboard and motorbike, which I have already mentioned. Moxy Mayhem will be four in May, and traveled in the back little seat of the truck, in her little three sided box all the way here to Loreto with us. She used to get carsick when she was a pup, and still pants a lot if she doesn’t know precisely where she is going. I honestly think she thought WE didn’t know where we were going most of the way here, and we learned right away not to raise our voices at each other in front of her. Smart, huh? We knew having a dog with us was going to present some barriers at times, and it has. Staying at Hotels and campgrounds has been remarkably easy with her. Leaving her home alone, has been another thing altogether. Before we left, when we were both working, she’d get a bone and she’d be fine all day. Not so in our new environs. I pretty much had to use the no bark collar if we’ve gone anywhere longer than an hour or she howls and cries mournfully. The no bark collar is fair; she gets a tone if she barks, another tone if she barks again very soon and then a little jolt (yes, I have felt it; not bad at all). So she actually has to work pretty hard to get any electrical correction at all. I think she figured that out straightaway, but she still tucks her tail in and tries to crawl in our laps when we get it out. So we were really happy to find that the girls whose mother works at “the general store” across the street like to dog sit. I guess they are about 7 and 9. Megan and Madeline. There is an older girl too but I haven’t met her yet. So yesterday was our first big outing without the dog. Snorkeling from about 8 to 2pm.
It was remarkable. We didn’t know we were going to be swimming with Sea lions! I would have been just delighted to have snorkeled around in the cool water among the amazing chiseled, swirling formations of eroded volcanic silica and iron, looking at the chocolate chip starfish, the trumpet fish, the giant parrot fish and the tinfoil like Jacks…but Raphael, put us in about thirty yards from where a group of barking seals were swirling around in a bunch with flippers up (I thought they were Pelicans with tails up and heads down till the very last ) sunning themselves and pretty much ignoring us. He promised they would not touch us, and that we shouldn’t touch them, but wouldn’t be able to even if we tried. He advised a slow approach along the rocks so we wouldn’t be mistaken for predators. I was sooo excited. I was the first one in the water, with R right behind me. I was surprised Raphael had us don hoods, booties and gloves as well as our wetsuits, but man it was COLD compared to where I’d been swimming previously. I was just about shaking with chill as I tried to go slowly and observe the aquarium around me as I made my way to the twenty or so seals. Most of them were about as big as me, I think. I stopped in the water when I got within about twenty feet of the swirling, drying fins and tails to see if they would approach me, and they DID! With an “ow-ow-ow” sound like an old hound dog they would sound off above the water, then one at a time, then several at a time swam right below and next to me, a few times close enough to touch, but definitely close enough to get wonderful eye contact with their quarter sized eyes, looking me up and down and likely admiring my hot pink flippers.(?) they would bark in the water too, blowing little bubbles. I couldn’t help but make sounds back at them, barking into my snorkel. They look so clumsy on the rocks, but how graceful as soon as they slide into the water, perfectly streamlined like a fat water rocket, rolling from one side to the other with barely noticeable movements of tail and fingerlike flippers. I was among my people, for sure! And guess what the Mexicans call them? Not Sea lions, but Lobos Marinos! Wolves of the sea. And again, no feeding from the guides or gringos did I ever see, even from others that visited while we were there. They simply seemed every bit as fascinated with us as we were with them.
That really was the highlight of our day, but I can’t neglect the dolphins, racing around our boat, following us fearlessly and sooo fast, then leaping into the air a good 6 feet as if jumping an invisible wall, or straight up into the air with a twirl. They have hypothesized that maybe they do this to get rid of parasites on their hides, but really do also guess that they are simply having joyful good fun. That certainly seemed more likely in this particular milieu.
And the white rice beach we stopped at for a picnic (and to warm ourselves) with the mason jar green water. The water was so green and the sand so reflective, that the white seagulls passing lazily overhead appeared to be green as well. The blue footed boobies should get honorable mention, sitting on the rocks of white smelly guano with the pelicans, showing off their pretty blue legs to the females, hoping to catch a favorable eye when courting.
We were exhilarated by the time we got home, but had double booked our day with a food and wine celebration at the hotel down the road and had bought tickets for this fundraiser for some local concerns (including, you guessed it homeless dog sheltering). Moxy was relaxed and happy with her new friends. She has always been partial to girls. But we thought we shouldn’t push it and walked her right into the hotel with us after we’d cleaned up, and had wine and treats on a shady rock on the periphery, behind the band (called, believe or not, Los beach Dogs), and danced with bare feet on the cool grass like lunatics. I then did something I’d always wanted to do after dancing like a lunatic; I swam partway home in the warm shallow water off the sandy shore, listening to old people music (rock and roll) all the way home, followed by my faithful microfiber dog, Moxy.
R met us there with my sandals, overshirt and most of a bottle of really nice red wine. People are okay too, in moderation.