Yesterday morning it was like all Cooper's Christmases had come at once when we drove down to the Long Beach Dog Zone.
He knew immediately that we'd arrived at the beach and literally dragged his dad toward the sandy shore (which is quite hard when you're wearing flip-flops on your feet).
Cooper really was like a kid in a candy store as he raced along the sectioned part of the sandy shore and played with all the other dogs (and their toys), then sped back up the beach to play with some other new friends.
Compared to Arroyo Burro Dog Beach in Santa Barbara or Sycamore Cove in Ventura County, Long Beach Dog Zone pales in comparison in terms of a place for dogs to truly run free (even though Sycamore Cove isn't officially an off-leash dog beach, if you get there early enough or go off-season when there are no lifeguards present you can let them frolic about freely on the sand).
You can't really walk your pup that far along the shore at Long Beach, but as it's one of the only beaches that allows dogs on the beach, and off-leash, in L.A. County you can't really complain and Cooper had a ball playing with all the other dogs, which is the important thing.
They also get to swim in the Pacific Ocean and it's the type of beach which gently shelves into the water, so it's ideal for the dogs.
In fact Cooper pretty much forgot about his two dads and was far more interested in stealing all the other dogs toys, he seemed to especially covet the kind that can be thrown into and float in the ocean.
Not even a tennis ball could hold his attention for long yesterday.
At times it became a race to see which dog could reach the floating toy first.
Cooper even won the challenge at times. Even though he's not the fastest dog on the beach or in the Pacific Ocean, he gives it his all and is becoming a much better swimmer.
Long Beach is not the prettiest of beaches, it's surrounded by industry and sea ports, and I think they have problems with pollution, but I believe efforts are being made to revitalise and clean up the area.
Cooper also looks amazingly strong these days as he plows through the surf (we know how powerful that feels when his 70lb frame races into our legs).
I sense another trip to the pet store coming soon to stock up on some new 'throw and fetch' toys.
Even though we still call him our pup, Cooper is now over thirteen months old and is starting to look like all the older Labradors on the beach, but he's still a pup at heart.
Even though the marine layer had yet to burn away, it was the perfect temperature for Cooper as he exhausted himself playing with the other dogs and splashing through the surf.
He reluctantly left the Dog Zone with us after a good, hard play and even had one last dig in the sand before we left the beach.
Since he'd tired himself out and we were in the neighbourhood, we used the opportunity to take a quick trip to the Queen Mary which was one of the largest ocean liners of its time and is now moored at Long Beach port. More on our visit tomorrow.
For now enjoy the sight of a contented pup, dozing in his car hammock on the way home.
Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday...