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Sniffing clam shells at the beach

A couple of weekends ago, I took my pointer-mix to the ocean for the first time. We went to one of my favorite beaches–Scarborough Beach, in Maine.

First trip to the seashore

I had her on her expandable leash so she could run but not get too far away from me. At first she liked the smells and the wide expanse of sandy beach to run. She likes meeting people and making friends with other dogs. I’m always so proud of her because she’s friendly and never growls or barks at other dogs. Big clam shells dotted the scene and she sniffed every one of them. She was less excited about the waves, which seemed to startle her. She’d been to the lake with me in September, when we swam together and she wasn’t too crazy about the little waves from boat wakes that lapped the shore. At Scarborough Beach, the waves are big enough to surf. She danced around in the wet sand as I tried to get her to wade into the cold salt water. All of the dogs we met on the beach were soaked from swimming. After all, Sophie-Bea is a water-dog. But she chickened out when the water came up to her ankles. We’ll try again in the late spring.

Not wading into that cold saltwater!

My new dog, Sophie-Bea, is a southern girl. She doesn’t like to go out in any harsh Maine weather and her favorite stuffed toy is a possum. Once abandoned on the side of a highway near Hot Springs, Arkansas, this pointer-hot dog mix is no friend of busy traffic. So I take her on dirt camp roads, down to the lake; we explore wetland preserves in the area. But if she had her way, she’d be happy chasing trucks down Vista Road to the lake…

 Sophie-Bea has transformed into a great companion. In the first month (September), she changed…

1. From being afraid of traffic to chasing the dumptruck down the camp road on trash days
2. From sitting/staying on command to simply lying on her back and wiggling about, or charging off through the woods to do a loop around the house
3. From sleeping at the foot of my bed or her doggie bed–to maneuvering under the covers to the middle of my bed while I’m asleep
4. From peeing in the guest room to sneaking to the basement in the middle of the night to relieve herself despite a LOT of outdoor time together morning, day and night
5. From being good in the kitchen to counter-surfing – (steals sandwich tops, not the bottoms)
6. From not chewing my things to destroying sunglasses, shoes, sentimental things I’ve put up in high places out of doggie reach, or on the dining room table. She’s a climber!

Sophie-Bea - the flash is in her eyes (they're normally dark brown)

My new dog, Sophie-Bea, is the canine version of Elizabeth Taylor in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” (1958) with overly-made-up dark expressive eyes, a white slip of a figure, long nails and a dramatic disposition. She’s eager to please. She respects the male of the house, “Macho,” a 20 pound brick of a feline, who dismisses her attempts to show affection and broods over his glory days as an ex-alley tomcat. Sophie-Bea is part-pointer and part-dachshund, so she’s got the pretty face of a “hot dog dog” and the body of a bird-dog. She dances for attention, makes friends easily and likes to romp around in my woods. We’ve gone swimming a few times on hot September days and I knew as soon as she dove off the dock into the lake, it was a match made in heaven. She’s my first-ever dog. I’m in love!

in her hoodie


Poet. Artist. Ecoheroine. Human ecologist. Spiritual mermaid and Mystic. I write about literary ecology, wetlands, water, Romantic ecology, and quirky adventures with my dog.

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Charles P. Martin-Shields

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