Dog beach fun

It’ll surprise some people that I really look forward to trips to Chicago. There’s a lot to like. It’s always a blessing to see our daughter, Lindsey, and the trips give Kathy and me several uninterrupted days together…and in fine Pearce tradition we put the serious feed-bag on every chance we get.

Dogs and dog owners gather daily at the dog beach near downtown Chicago, even in the rain.

Outside of those things, though, my favorite part of the trip are my daily trips to the dog beach a mile or so from Lindsey’s apartment near Lake Michigan. It’s basically several hundred yards of fenced off beach on the lake where people can let their dogs run off-leash. And man, do they ever run and run and run and run…

Friday evening Kathy and I hit the place about the time people home from work were taking their dogs out for exercise. I went back about noon today on my own, sat on a bench amid the beach and laughed and laughed watching the show as sprinkles turned to a rain shower.

Today’s crew included everything from a young mastiff to an old Yorkie. Most dogs were mixed-breeds from local shelters which is extra-cool. A lot were fetching leveraged tennis balls and retrieving dummies from the rolling surf.

No fights, no growling, mostly dogs happily running everywhere chasing and playing with others. I’ve been around a lot of dogs in my life and I think the dog beach is the epitome of canine bliss. Once free from the cars in which they arrive all sprint to the gate and prance until they’re let in…and most hit the beach as fast as their legs can take them.

Of course compared to being cooped-up in small apartments or taken on short-leash walks on sidewalks roaming with the pack du jour at the beach has got to be like heaven to the dogs. The joy in their faces is obvious as they run by.

Sometimes the joy gets a little much, though.

After getting soaked to the skin by waves and rain a woolly border collie-cross pitched itself down in the sand and did a full-body roll for a solid minute, twisting and digging until it was as well-coated as a floured piece of chicken headed to the fryer.

“All trips to the dog beach mean a good bath as soon as we get home,” said the woman who brought the dog. “He can’t help it, he’s just so excited to be here. He’ll sleep most of the day now.”