Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Doggy beach

Most people expect to see this when they go to the beach:

I, on the other hand was forced to see this:

(actually it was worse, there were rusty old boats, and new boats constantly roaring by, and I could even see the highway in my field of view)

It couldn't have been a more glorious day! Sunday I had planned to go fishing with the boys and the girls would lay out on the beach, leaving the boys to fish and talk smack on the jetty at Belmar Beach, NJ. I thought how great would it be to bring Sgt. Pepper along for the ride and to soak up some of his own rays. I did research, I googled Belmar Beach Pet Policy, and found nothing.

So I figured, well if the town's website doesn't mention anything about dogs I thought they must be allowed. Besides people live in Belmar and people probably have dogs there, and people like to walk their dogs on the beach. When we finally got to Belmar, there were signs that said dogs are only allowed in designated areas. And the fishing jetty didn't have any such sign.

At some point Sgt. Pepper was spotted and was asked to be removed. I had just begun fishing. Barely an hour had elapsed since I had tried the new "bunker bait" and tossed a few 50 yard casts.

Alas we were booted from the beach and the fishing peer. Mind you, Sgt. Pepper is a good doggy, he is one of the most tame dogs I know. We were fully prepared with bags for his poop and water for his thirst, we had the leash and everything. He could have in no way caused any more of a mess than some of the fisherman do on a daily basis leaving their squid and clams behind to dry up and desintigrate into slimy masses resembling some yet undiscovered species from the deep.

At most a drop of doggy saliva would get absorbed by the sand. I guess I missed the memo that doggy saliva contains anthrax and as such doggies are a threat to humanity, nature, and of course national security. Mind you, the real injustice is that you have to pay to enter the beach in NJ. Most people think this is insanity. The beach is public land. That means it should be free, with the contention that everyone does their part to keep it clean. Leave no trace and all that.

Luckily, someone told us of a doggy beach in Manasquan which was just a few miles south of Belmar. We went. We realized shortly that we had been relegated to the stretch of sand with the worse view and least relaxation open to the public perhaps in the whole of the Jersey shoreline.

In the first photo above, you can see a thicket to the left of the houses and such. We were in that thicket. The good news was that there were many other dog owners who brought their dogs over there. Sgt. Pepper enjoyed his first time out in the open without a leash to tether him to no more than 30 ft. from me. He ran, played, cajoled with the other dogs. So for him, it was paradise. For me, and my lady, it hardly qualified as to what we had imagined a day at the beach to be. The noise, air, and view were all polluted with sounds, smells, and sights that are precisely what we wish to escape with a trip to the Jersey shore.

So now that I know that there are doggy beaches, does anyone reading this have any suggestions as to any others in NJ that may have better looks, smells, and sounds than the inlet at Manasquan? Please leave comments.

In short, after this and other lessons, I have become hardened to the fact that it is better to assume no dogs allowed. I still have yet to understand why.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Democats and Republidogs

It is no no wonder the left blogosphere chooses to have cat blogging on fridays. Many liberals own cats. I am sure the parallel symbolisms that link personal politics and choice of domestic pets has been done ad nauseum. Thus, I have prepared my ego by setting my traffic expectations extremely low. I have been a cat owner for the last 2 or 3 years (with a lapse somwehere in between of about 12 months, miss you Figo!) and have only recently (as recently documented at MIT) become a dog owner.

Since my new challenge in life is to get these two oposites to attract, I thought why not blog it and perhaps help some people along the way. People who may see themselves tangled in the same web of the geopolitical battlefield in their 300 sqare foot mid-urban apartments. Taming the same diplomatic beast (pardon the terrible pun).

So, I will try to give a tidbit of helpful information with every post as well as make acute political points along the way, drawing off the probably over reaped soil of dog=conservative (or republican) and cat=liberal (perhaps democrat but with much more conviction). Finally, as Robert Stack delivers with absolute excellence, and as I will take the distinct pleasure of "pulling a Pepper" on: "The dogs and cats are real, but the stories are not."

Tip #1. Redistribution of wealth. Food is to be the singlemost greatest challenge. Your Republican dog will want to eat anything you feed him. If you had a feeding trough installed in your kitchen your dog would probably eat until his liver would turn into the first ever dog harvested foie gras (Soon2B outlawed in some states). Cats, liberal as they are, on the otherhand being more conscious of their bodies and health (easily identified by their self-cleaning bonus feature) have knowledge of satiation. You can put a feeding trough in for a cat and if you started off training your cat with 2 or 3 feedings a day, that cat will eat only those 2 or 3 times per diem.

Thus the challenge. If you are fortunate enough in life to have been bestowed the pleasure of dog and cat co-habitation, then you will almost immediately realize that keeping Sgt Pepper from Seatie's food is a major problem. Particularly since Seatie is always being chased by Sgt. Pepper.

May I suggest a wee pet door that only Seatie has the key for. Like one of these. Let Seatie have the only key to the door and store her litter box AND food behind it. If you are going to put this in say a porch for instance, make sure that when Sgt. Pepper goes outside you ensure the food is at a level where he can't reach it. This way your cat can have its own little place to eat drink and poop. All rather important functions.

This also keeps Seatie's turds from becoming Sgt. Pepper's tootsie rolls.

However, this suggestion may not work if you own a dog that is smaller than your cat. If that is the case, perhaps your household's liberal cat dominance is the direction where the some of us would like to see the real government going. To yee I say: leave thy comments on this Historical first post of Democats and Republidogs.