Rescue dog: Albie goes to the beach, but doesn't dip in

Albie at his first beach party gets a lot of socializing in if not swimming.

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    Suzanne Church (right) and Albie (left) head to the beach.
    Peter Zheutlin
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When Suzanne and Chris, friends with a beautiful beach house and a spectacular garden, invite you for the weekend, and one of them is a renowned chef and they have a black Lab and welcome all dogs, what could go wrong? Absolutely nothing. 

Sal, the black Lab, has been an overnight guest in our house a few times and he and Albie get along famously even as they compete for treats and attention. Our friends Bill and Debbie were there, too, with Wes, their action-oriented German shepherd.

The first order of business for the dogs was to jump into the muddy marsh that separates the garden from the beach, then run back to us and shake it all off and all over our clothes. We weren’t out of the car for five minutes before we had a full load of laundry to do. There were bones to chew, balls to chase and a large expanse of grass on which to frolic.

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But of all the weekend’s activities, it was the ride in Chris’ 1966 Cutlass convertible Albie seemed to enjoy the most. He and Sal and I jumped in the back seat but for Sal the Cutlass is old hat so he promptly plopped down and laid his head on the seat. Albie, excited by the novelty, sat right on top of Sal (who didn’t protest), the better to take in the view and enjoy the breeze in his face. With sunglasses and a cigarette he might have looked like something out of a Hunter Thompson book, you know, “Fear and Loathing in Westport, Mass.” or something like that.

Once at the beach, Sal and Wes bolted straight into the waves but Albie, who we’ve never seen swim (see his first attempt here), ran back and forth along the water’s edge barking at his more adventurous friends. Sal must have been bred for the water because as he swam out after a stick a wave broke right over him. Undaunted he rode the next wave to shore while Albie was still trying to figure out why the water kept coming and going.

As evening arrived so did more of Chris and Suzanne’s guests and their dogs, all there for an annual paella cooking contest pitting Chris against his friend Valerie. (For the record, Chris was riding a four-year losing streak but eked out a one-vote victory.) Zipper, Sal’s sister, came with his “parents” Doc and Steve, as did dachshund Beau (short for Beauregard) with Doug and Will. Doug hails from Louisiana, which may explain how Beauregard got his moniker.

If you’ve ever wondered how a tiny dachshund contends with a very large and rambunctious German shepherd I can now tell you: with attitude. Not one to be intimidated, Beau, who spent part of the evening walking on tabletops and part lying flat on his back inside Will’s shirt with his head poking out, knows the best defense is a good offense. With a few quick thrusts in which he bared his teeth at Wes the lines were drawn and Beau established he was not to be messed with by the bigger guys. Albie watched it all with a look of slight puzzlement as Beau proved that when it comes to being the alpha male size truly doesn’t matter.


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