Sunset Walk at Juanita Beach

Twice recently I've walked with one or more dogs through the newly renovated Juanita Beach Park near sunset, cursing that I didn't have even an iPhone camera with me.

Today when I set out with Meadow, I brought my camera. Here's what we observed.

Meadow posing reluctantly. Seattle skyline way in the background.

Meadow smoking a rainbow cigar. (Not sure how this happened, but I like it.)

A few leaves still clinging to trees.

A dog takes someone for a walk along the boardwalk surrounding the beach.

Looking west toward Juanita Bay Park and wetlands beyond the boardwalk.

More dogs walking.

As I was taking photos, I noticed a woman standing patiently nearby, watching Meadow. Eventually she approached. "What a gorgeous dog that is," she said with a soft accent that sounded eastern European to my ears. After introductions, the woman offered to take a photo of me and Meadow together, using my camera. She got this one before my camera battery died:

Then, the kind stranger - who had some professional quality cameras strapped over her thick coat - began taking photos with her own cameras. We kept trying to get Meadow to look into the camera, but - as in the photo above - I don't think we succeeded. The woman had me write my email address in her day planner so that she can send the photos to me. What a wonderful encounter. I can't wait to see her photos. Just the way she casually handled her cameras - then showed me on the digital display what she captured - convinced me she knows what she's doing.

She was there hoping to photograph a great blue heron at sunset.

One of the best lessons my dogs have taught me through the years: presenting a calm, happy demeanor allows strangers to approach you. With the encouragement of a smile from me and friendly body language from the dogs, people will engage in conversation, pet the dogs, share a compliment and perhaps even some photos. Yesterday evening, walking in this same park at the same time of day, a boy of about 13 stopped in his tracks as Meadow and I approached. I smiled, knowing he was hoping he'd be allowed to meet Meadow. As we got closer, he kneeled down to Meadow's level, broad smile covering his face. "Smart kid," I thought, seeing he knew the silent language of greeting animals. As he held out his hand for Meadow to sniff, his mother, standing nearby, complimented Meadow's beauty and haircut, and asked about her breed. After the boy caressed Meadow's chin and ears a bit, he stood up. "Thank you, and God bless!" he said as he walked away.

It always brings me joy to see the simple joy my dogs bring to others.

I call my malamutes the goodwill ambassadors of big dogs.  

Addendum: The kind woman who took photos of me and Meadow with her own cameras did indeed send them to me by email today. Thank you, Helen B!

Here they are (and much, much better quality than my own):

Rebecca WallickComment