Yay, puppy pics! This is the second special lady in my life, Miley Swift, named after the two budding pop megastars of 2009 (Taylor Cyrus just isn’t as cute). There’s nothing like spending a day on a pristine, dog-friendly Australian beach with my wife and our uber-cute yellow Labrador. (2009)
Although Jenny and I haven’t been married a year, an unexpected change in my job yields a certain newlywed challenge. I’ll be working an “even time” gig out on the oil rigs – two weeks on, two weeks off. On the bright side, this allows us to move from inner-city Brisbane down to the breezy beaches of the Gold Coast. This bump in lifestyle comes with a price but part of our agreement is getting a dog. For Jenny, this will hopefully take the edge off the loneliness of a new town while hubby works hundreds of miles away in the Australian outback for half a month at a time.
The New Addition
Our six-week old Lab has only been home for several hours and we’re already cramming into our zippy, pine-green Ford Festiva to speed off to the beach. There, Miley’s fluorescent pink collar nearly slips off with every puppy leap in the sand. It’s only secured in place by the abundance of wrinkly skin that would make any raisin-like Sharpei nod in appreciation.
Our naïve Retriever shows her true instincts and makes a beeline for the shore. Brave water dog splashes valiantly into the paw-deep ocean. After a minute-long frolic, a monster wave of eight inches scoops her up and tosses her for an unexpected tumble in the wet sand. Poor Miley scrambles to her oversized feet, dripping sand and sea, shooting us a stunned look that screams, “Mom! Dad! What in God’s name was that?”
South Kingscliff Beach
The ultimate dog spot is the South Kingscliff back beach and it’s worth every bit of the twenty-five minute journey from our place in Queensland. In fact, we have to drive to the entirely different state of New South Wales (OK, it’s not really a Herculean feat since we live five miles from the NSW border). We park in the shadowy dirt lot and our feet crunch on the pebbly path winding through the grove of eucalyptus trees. The elevated clearing reveals a panoramic view of the vast, blue Pacific. I throw Miley’s chewed-up tennis ball towards the shoreline and our graceless Lab tumbles down the fifteen foot drop in pursuit.
As Jenny and I follow, the powdery, tan sand squeaks like clean glass and we discover to our delight that the beach is deserted miles in each direction. Miley, who has progressed through several months of puppyhood now, knows not to venture too far out into the rumbling white wash. She sniffs out a tide pool deep enough to contain dozens of baitfish and playfully paws at them in between games of fetch.
Go Get Him!
Miley’s favorite beach activity is “Stay!” Hell, it’s mine too! First though I bark, “Sit!” Our ever-obedient pup complies and plops down her sandy dog booty.
I narrow my eyes and grunt, “Lay down!” Miley scoots into position and eagerly scratches her paws forward. Her panting smile and hanging tongue show she’s happily accepting my alpha-male instructions.
“Stay,” I utter with my palm firmly raised at shoulder length and begin to step backwards. Miley’s loose skin vibrates in anticipation as I walk away, my eyes locked on hers. I repeat the order until she’s a mere spec waiting beside Jenny. I drop my outstretched arm to my side and – it’s on! I turn and bolt down the beach while Jenny most likely urges Miley, “Go get him!”
I try my damnedest to outrun her, but despite the head start, our perfectly named pup is soon nipping at my heels. “Miss Swift! Good girl” I laugh and pant as she bounces around me. What she lacks in coordination she makes up for in the 100 yard dash. Miley might be the happiest dog in the world right now.
Dolphin Cool Down
The afternoon onshore winds pick up and it’s not long before a gentle sand-blasting has us seeking refuge. We hike up the sloped sand and meander back through shady patch of brush. On the opposite side is a calm, clear delta running into the ocean. It’s an even sharper descent to the crystal lagoon. Miley fires down and manages to keep her footing this time. In 2.3 seconds flat she’s paddling away in the water while Jenny and I carefully negotiate the steep, sandy bank. The cool, inviting water is heaven as we wade out to join her and dunk our heads in. I’m pushing my hair back off my face when Jenny nudges me and chuckles, “Is this real life?”
Miley’s now befriended a pair of dolphins playing around in the inlet. “I see it but I don’t believe it,” I reply, admiring the two porpoises and their new homegirl zipping around in a circle. Minutes later they swim off and Miley returns to us in the shallower water. The hardest part of the day is seeing the disappointment in Miley’s eye’s when it’s time to leave.
You’ve done well, girl. A steak for dinner and this day is the equivalent of winning the dog lottery.
Don’t Be A Stranger!
So, there it is, blog number two in the books for Tacks on a Map. More to come and I hope to hear from you. Comment at will!