Monday, March 2, 2009

Cooper's first official swim in the Pacific Ocean...

Yesterday, true to my word, we ventured out of L.A. County on a road trip up the Californian coast to visit Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara County
Pup racing through waves at Arroyo Burro Beach
It was a lovely morning and we set off early, taking the slightly less scenic, but faster freeway and got there in under two hours. 
Cooper heading into the ocean at Arroyo Burro Beach
Also known as Hendry's Beach, it has a fantastic off-leash dog part, which our ten month old Labrador Cooper enjoyed enormously.
Cooper amongst the waves
Compared to our usual haunt of Sycamore Cove in Ventura County (which allows dogs on the beach, but 'officially' on a leash), this Santa Barbara beach allows dogs to run along the shore and swim freely in the Pacific Ocean.
Cooper learning to swim at Arroyo Burro Beach
Not only was this Cooper's first time in Santa Barbara, but it was his first real swim in the ocean. 
Frisbee fun at Arroyo Burro Beach
Before he has tentatively waded into the waves after tennis balls and frisbees, or to rescue his dad when he fell in, but he's never really swum out into open water on his own.
Cooper ocean swimming
I'm so glad that he liked it and it was wonderful to see his water dog and retriever heritage come to the fore. Ahh, our pup is growing up into a big strong dog.
Pup swimming with a pal at Arroyo Burro Beach
Dogs swimming at Arroyo Burro Beach
Cooper emerging from the Pacific Ocean
I think he was encouraged by the other dogs at the beach who were diving in after sticks and balls thrown for them. 
Pup chasing a dog in the oceanPuppy chasing sticks in the ocean
Cooper in ocean at Arroyo Burro Beach
Cooper and pal chase sticks at a Santa Barbara beach
I'm not sure if he was chasing their toys or them more. Whichever, he loved it. That is until a big wave came along unexpectedly and he got a snout full of salt water. 
Cooper in the ocean at Arroyo Burro Dog Beach
Poor boy, he looked so shocked as he paddled back to shore. After that he seemed a bit less inclined to rush into the crashing surf.
Sailboat near Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara
As well as being popular with fellow dog walkers, the beach is also a hot-spot for surfers, sailors and those who like to fish from the shore. There's also an on-leash section of the beach for families and sun worshippers.
Puppy having fun at Hendry's Beach
I'm glad we arrived early (around 10.30am), as it was already busy and as we'd been warned the free car park gets filled up very quickly. 
Windsurfing at Arroyo Burro Beach
I've read online that it's rush hour for locals on week nights between 4pm and 8pm, as they all take their dogs for their evening walks after work.
Pup under Santa Barbara sky
Along with being great stimulation and a change for Cooper (and us), the beach was the perfect place to help him socialise with other dogs when they were playing. 
Surf pup at Hendry's Beach
He was so well behaved that we were very proud. 
Pup shaking off the water on the beach
Although we did have a 'Marley moment' when he decided to race after another dog up the beach with me chasing after him. 
Pup enjoying Arroyo Burro Beach
I think this was more due to his un-neutered frisky state, rather than sheer disobedience, but like every dog he tends to suddenly lose all sense of hearing when he's playing with his pals.
Splashing through the waves at Hendry's beach
Cooper had a great morning at the beach and swimming in the ocean, and although we may not be able to go every weekend due to the distance, we'll certainly be returning to Arroyo Burro Beach for more swimming lessons.
Wet Labrador at Arroyo Burro Beach
Fortunately a drive into Santa Barbara afterwards helped us dry out our pup in the sunshine, so we didn't have to suffer too much of a wet, sandy dog on the drive home...

1 comment:

alisha said...

Hey thanks for the informative post, Swimming classes should be something that a person takes up when young. Well I guess an adult can also take up swimming lessons. Never too young to try!

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