Off Leash for a Night

It’s seldom the Luke gets a night off leash, especially now that the weather is improving. In the winter it is too dark and when it’s light and nice there are too many people and other dogs. It’s already becoming an issue on our regular walk. Instead of complaining about the jogger incident last week (Luke did well despite taking me out, yay for handles everywhere!) I am going to post about the rare occurrence where we got a bay all to ourselves at sunset.

In February we had a shark die in a bay which is pretty cool because it was a good size and it’s Canada, not an everyday occurrence. It was dark and rainy so Luke and I didn’t make it out to check it out and then we got hit with all that freak snow so we were busy with shoveling and snowballs. My partner was at the bay earlier in the day last Friday (March 22nd, yes it has taken me this long to finish a simple blog post) and told me that the sharks spine was on the beach and it was impressive. I am adventurous at heart and could not contain myself. Instead of the usual Luke and I were getting out the door and getting to the Bay in the fading light to see it for ourselves!

He was hesitant to come in at first.

It was a good call because it was empty the entire time we were there. The tide was high and there wasn’t much shoreline, that doesn’t bother us, it usually means quiet. This is the bay that Luke learned to swim at back before the reactivity got so bad. I miss swimming him. He gets hot and he loves it. I also find the cold salt water keeps the fleas away. He’s never had them and I don’t like the chemical drops.

Over the rocks and fallen trees to the area of interest we went. I tried to keep him on leash because I am wary, however the water was cold, my boots and socks were off and my jeans were up to my knees and he was stubbornly not following me in, (the tide was up and the spine was out and under water). I looked around a few times and decided to hell with it, off comes the leash. That’s what he wanted. With the leash off he was willing to follow.

I know that children shouldn’t play with dead things. I can’t help myself, I’m sure I have missed many callings in life. I hauled that spine out of the water to check it out. The tail was still skin and I have always wanted to know what a shark feels like. Fine sand paper and thick like leather. The look command and strong nasty odour had Luke in on the action. I wish there had been a tooth kicking around, I would have loved to have scored the jaw bone, most of a shark is pure cartilage. The spine is, I know because I touched it. I’m sure Luke would have loved to roll in it.

Further down we found a baby. The shark had died full of pups. The baby had a solid bone in the chest but the teeth and jaw were still forming and weren’t solid yet (too bad!) I showed Luke the pup as well and I ran my fingers over the rows of teeth. Rows of them, still soft and tiny. It is one of the coolest experiences I can think of. When we we were done with the shark we played a bit of stick and then did a walk and home.

It was the first time in a very long time that I felt good having him off leash in the evening like that. He has come along way with his commands and attention. I had an adventure with my reactive dog and it was positive. It had been almost a year since we had that good of a night together. Sometimes you get lucky. I know this was luck and for a week it was as good as winning the lottery. If you have a reactive dog I hope a night like this finds you and gives you a boost.

He enjoyed it as much as I did.

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