Karen B. London
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Joyful Experiences with Dogs
Can you beat running on the beach?

I took this photo of Caity running with her dog Maggie while I was vacationing with my extended family in Cannon Beach, Ore. I had never met either one of them until that day, but when they zoomed by together, I just had to capture the moment.

I am an obsessive beach and ocean lover, running is my favorite sport, and I hope it goes without saying that I’m a dog person, so for me, all of them together are about as good as it gets. Of course, if I could eat chocolate at the same time without choking, that would probably increase my enjoyment of the experience slightly, but that’s only theoretical since I’ve never tried it.
What I want to know from you is what experiences with your dog give you the greatest happiness? What are la crème de la crème of all the joyful, fulfilling moments you spend with your dog?



Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Kelly Staples | August 24 2010 |

We love playing on the beach and Cannon Beach is an all time favorite! But I love doing anything and everything with my beloved Lucy dog. As long as she's with me I'm one happy camper. So much so that I blog about our adventures (and misadventures) regularly at www.dogs2cents.com. My favorite activity though is hiking in the mountains with my girl, Lucy!

Submitted by Carolyn | August 24 2010 |

I love when we experience the same thing at the same moment. Like a nest of baby mice in the tall grass -- she smells it, I see it. Her eyes say "Wow! Would you look at this!" Or a dead raccoon, considerably less pleasant (for me), but we click on it together. Basically, sharing moments in nature, whether walking, biking, or kayaking.

Great photo above -- both are airborne, or nearly so.

Submitted by Pamela | August 24 2010 |

I absolutely love walking around the neighborhood with my dog. To me, it looks like the same old block. To Honey, it's an amazing array of aromas that cause her to zig and zag soaking it all up.

It's amazing to watch her follow the scent trail until she hones in on the source. I wish I knew what she was smelling.

Submitted by Frances | August 25 2010 |

For me it is sitting on a sunny river bank while the dogs explore the shallows - sun dappling through the willow leaves onto the water, wild flowers all around, dogs absorbed in sights and smells with their tails gently waving, and the possibility of seeing the flash of azure and gold that is a kingfisher. Bliss!

Submitted by Laurie | August 25 2010 |

Joyful moments spent with my dogs, Amadeus and Harlow are going on an excellent fun walk in the neighborhood. This would mean encountering no loose dogs and getting to meet at least one new person.

Another joyful moment is when I'm sandwitched in between the two and rubbing their bellies and they are wagging with delight :)

Submitted by Katie | September 2 2010 |

The most joyful experience with my dogs is getting up at dawn to run with them, Rudy (Border Collie) and Marty (Weimereimer/Golden Retriever). When I pull a pair of running shorts out, Rudy's eyes shine and both dogs keep me in sight as I finish dressing and prepping. By the time I clip on leases, they are quivering to be out. It is heaven for all of us to reach the lake, our favorite running spot, and get going. We are a high-functioning team, Rudy on the left, Marty on the right, staying out of each other's way, maintaining a single pace. It is glorious, every single step.

Submitted by Anonymous | September 3 2010 |

I think my dogs and I have the most fun together when we go to the beach and they can run their little hearts out! Also, when we go hiking in the hills around our house.
I love seeing them run full speed with not a care in the world and a big smile on their face with their tounges flying in the wind!

Submitted by Caitlyn | September 7 2010 |

My dog loves the beach! And he has finally figured out that swimming is awesome! However I think his all time favorite is going backpacking.


Submitted by Anonymous | September 8 2010 |

My dog loves to run and swim and fetch and play tug-o-war, but your question was which experience gives ME the greatest happiness. For that, I must say it's when he jumps up on the coach next as I'm lieing there watching sports on the big screen, and he puts his paws and head on my chest. Sorry, but it's even better than having my wife next to me!

Submitted by catdogwoman | September 13 2010 |

My most joyous moments are when we're all on the floor wrestling! I usually get hurt by a head butt or scratched, but we all love it!

Submitted by Stephanie | September 13 2010 |

Hello, Karen,
My husband and I met on the water - literally, when I sailed my boat to a serene anchorage near Panama City, Florida. Within a year, we were sailing the Caribbean together. We saw so many boats with dogs that we decided to adopt. The Grenada SPCA helped us rescue an abandoned puppy, Xena, who became our loyal crew member. We had fourteen years of joyful experiences together on the water with our little 'sweet pea'.

Our love for sharing the water - and our favorite island - with Xena sparked our formation of Bay Families with Dogs, Inc., to advocate for continued access to Shell Island when authorities briefly tried to ban all of the boaters with dogs. The happy ending is that our organization now works together with the park system, and dogs and their people are united again to experience the joy of Shell Island.

We just finished our tribute video for Xena, and posted it here today:

Xena 1997 - 2010

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