Pearl is at the beach with me this week. I’m plotting the next series (and a couple of books to add to the current one). Pearl is learning about potty training and meeting new people. I am learning things about Pearl that weren’t apparent when we were at home.
Pearl is a yappy little digger.
She doesn’t yap at home, and she doesn’t dig. (She chases chickens, but she doesn’t dig.) But here at the beach, without the other dogs to help her feel safe, she is being challenged by fears she doesn’t have to face at the farm.
At the farm, Pearl knows that every person there wants her to feel safe. She doesn’t always feel safe–We’re working on “pick-ee-up” because Pearl runs or cowers when anyone tries to pick her up–but she knows that our intentions are good.
At the beach, Pearl yaps at every adult person she sees, even from a distance. She doesn’t know those people. Who are they? What are they doing there? Pearl doesn’t know, and that makes her feel anxious, so she yaps. She usually doesn’t yap at kids, because she doesn’t feel threatened by them. (After all, it wasn’t a kid who chased her down, snatched her up, and drove her far away from her mother and her home in order to throw her out of a truck window.)
At the farm, Pearl has several other dogs to play with, so she chases them while they chase the ball. She doesn’t have time to even think about doing anything other than what the other dogs are doing. (Well, except for chasing chickens.)
At the beach, she is learning to walk on the leash, and as she interacts with the environment here, she’s revealing a lot about the days she spent alone in the woods before she found our house. She has a very keen sense of smell. She’s always nose-to-ground, sniffing the sand. She runs in excited zig-zags, then zeros in on one spot, sniffing with excitement and purpose. Then, she scratches at the sand. She’ll scratch away a layer, then sniff. Scratch away another layer, then sniff. When the hole gets big enough, she’ll stick her whole head in. Then her whole body.
Today, I asked her, “What do you think is down there?”
She showed me an image of a big fat grub or slug. She showed me images of her digging in the dirt or the leaf clutter for small critters or another animal’s poop to eat. No wonder her paws were so dirty when we first found her! It took three puppy-shampoo baths and a few weeks’ time for the dirt to disappear.
I told her that there was nothing to eat in the sand at this beach.
But at that very moment, a sand flea (or some sort of bug-looking thing) came up out of the sand, and she snapped it up.
Okay Pearl. You are right and I was wrong. There are things to eat in the sand at the beach too. We had a chat about the dangers of garbage gut and the reasons she no longer has to eat bugs to survive. Then she dragged me back to the beach house, demanding dinner.