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About twenty minutes drive south of Hobart there is a beach which is known as the Dog Beach. There are other beaches where dogs are allowed at restricted times but the Dogbeach is open at all times and at all seasons for off lead dog exercising. It does change size as the River flows into the sea between the dog beach and the people beach and it moves with the tide, becomes deeper or shallower, fast flowing or sluggish. The river is the boundary between the people beach and the dog beach.
Tara knew this beach well and also most of the other dogs who frequented it when she did. So on Conaign's second day home, when the children got in their bathers and ran for the Starwagon she began jumping in and out of the van, shouting for Conaign to come too. He was still small enough to need lifting into the van. Both dogs had their seatbelts fitted and thought it was jjust grand to have their own seats in the van.
Arriving at the carpark we had to walk the dogs on leads across the bridge and then we let them go. Tara headed straight for the water while Conaign stayed close to Geoffrey's side. He and I sat down halfway to the water where we could watch the children and the dogs. Conaign decided to follow Tara to the water. When he got there, he couldn't bring himself to get wet. He sat down beside Rowena right on the water's edge, looking at the waves coming backwards aand forwards. Then he ran after Penny, the labrador/blue heeler cross who was a great playmate of Tara's. Edward ran after Conaign and carried him back to us. He sat and contemplated for several minutes. Then he went after Sheba, a little mixed breed who was actually smaller than he was. She brought him back to us. Then a group of children came running up shrieking, a puppy a puppy, can we pat the puppy. We told them one at a time and quietly. Tara came running up to share the affection. She was born with nanny genes and adores children. Conaign just wasn't so sure but behaved impeccably. Then Tara went off to play ball with the children and Rowena headed to the edge of the water again, coaxing Coney to come with her. Once again he sat beside her, just out of reach of the waves. What he didn't know was that the tide was coming in. As he sat there watching the waves go back and forth, he suddenly got his front paw went. He jumped back about six inches and then crept forward, following the wave out. It came in again and wet him again. That was too much and he ran back to Geoffrey's side. Tara came running up to see what had scared him, with her big laughing labrador grin.
We decided it had been a big day for a little puppy. Some of us wanted to walk Tara up the beach to dry her off and some of us thought we should stay with the puppy. But Tara was having none of it; her family had to stay in one group and her family included the puppy. He was carried for some of the way and whenever he was on the ground he would run off to meet the other dogs who also wanted to greet the newcomer to the dog beach.
He slept all the way home with a tentative little Setter smile, and he stayed asleep until his dinner time.