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Katana - Oceanside

In late fall of 2005, Katana and I spent a week in a rented house on the beach in Kitty Hawk, NC. We went late in the season, not only for the cheaper rates, but also so that most folks had already had their vacation before we went out there. We drove overnight to get there, so Katana enjoyed the truck time <grin <she loved riding in the truck>>. It was rough on me, not so much for the duration, but because I had caught a sinus bug 2 days before we left.

The house we rented was nothing all that spectacular, but it would have been roomie for a family of 6 plus room for friends on the couches. It was right on the beech. I was in heaven, even if I was sick. When we first pulled in, Katana was happy to go exploring along the road. Then we hit the sand and she became very “nosy busy.” For non Dog people, that means that she would stand in one place, refusing to move, for 3-4 minutes at a time doing nothing but sniffing the ground.

After about 10 minutes of this, I realized she was going to be at this for a while, so I tied her up to a pier under the house <the house was 12 feet in the air, so think of it like tieing her to a tree in the front yard> and unloaded the truck. When I was done, she was still having a grand time finding new smells. But I convinced her to go for a short walk. The house itself sat behind a berm of sand. It effectively cut off the view, and sound of the ocean for the most part. When we crested that berm, a huge smile slid across my face and I just stood there a minute. This turned out to be a good thing, because when I looked down at Katana, she looked worried, looked up at me, turned around and headed AWAY from the beach <grin>, all very prim like.

It took me another 5 minutes to convince her to at least get a LITTLE closer <grin>. Now, I should mention that while MOST dogs see water and feel the need to get into it, Katana never displayed that particular tendency. I don’t think she was afraid of water, exactly, but certainly she was NOT a “water dog”. Fortunately, for me, I had Katana on a long leash so I was able to get my feet wet <grin> while she stayed 15 ft from the waves. The surf that day was pretty mild, but the waves did crawl up the beach and Katana did NOT want to get her paws wet <grin>.

The next day, other than potty breaks, I stayed inside and slept <sick you know>. The waves crashing made it easy, even for me, to sleep. But the day after that, we went for a long walk on the beach. One of my favorite things in the world is beach coming. Not so much because I think I will finding treasure, but because I can make even junk, into something interesting <grin>. For this walk, I stayed more toward the high tide mark. This was partly because that was where all the washed up stuff was, and partly to help Katana acclimate to the ocean. She was just as happy as she always was on our walks, but she showed no interest in getting any closer to the water <grin>.

On the third day, some mild storms came in so I decided a nice long walk in the OTHER direction was warranted <grin>. Yes, I was sick, yes it was raining, and yes, I was barefoot <grin>. But I decided that the exercise would keep me warm, which it did. The surf was up quite a bit. I suppose to Katana it probably looked like a giant pile of squirming snakes or something, but she wanted to get as far from it as possible. So she took up the entire length of the leash, not in front of me, but directly away from the ocean <grin>. Oh, she wasn’t scared, or frustrated or anything, she just didn’t want salt water on her toes <grin>.

Day 4, I got to thinking that maybe Katana really did have a phobia about water even though she did not really show any of the usual manic signs. It seemed to me it was more a dislike, than a fear. But I decided it was unfair to subject her to too much ocean and left her on the deck while I went to play in the waves. She whined about being left behind. When I was playing in the waves, she barked a lot, but more in a “hey, come back her and get me!” manner than anything else. When I went back in, not very long, she immediately sat by the door until I took her outside. She didn’t need to potty, she just thought I owed her time outside <grin>.

After that, she didn’t act even a little bit afraid of the water. But she did seem to look at me like I was an idiot when I would play in the waves or let the water bury my feet in sand <grin>. She did love it when I scared up crabs though. And the night strolls were filled with all sorts of interesting things for her and I. All in all, it was an wonderful trip.




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