Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Favorite Places: Arroyo Burro Off-Leash Dog Beach

Arroyo Burro Beach is known locally as Hendry's. Parking is free, and there are bathrooms and the Boathouse restaurant right there. Trash cans and a poo bag dispenser can be found on the way to the stairs, which lead down to the sand. Turn left and walk to the base of the cliffs to get to the designated off-leash area. The dog beach extends to the wooden steps at the foot of Mesa Lane, more than a mile away.
Sweet freedom!
The dog beach is proof that my dogs are very, very spoiled. We visite several times a week, and sometimes every day when the tides are good. Currently the beach is unusually rocky thanks to our one and only winter storm scouring all the sand away. It's coming back, but slowly.

My favorite thing about this beach is how wonderfully isolated it feels. The dog beach runs along the base of the cliffs, and basically disappears at high tide. The rest of the day the dog beach becomes a corrider, perfect for walking while throwing a ball.
High tide, no beach.
The cliffs helps contain the dogs, there is no access to streets or other modern hazards. I have helped other beachgoers capture dogs that decided to bolt down the beach. If a wayward dog makes it to the steps and the parking lot, there are always plenty of dog-lovers around to help. I once encoutered a small, fluffy dog wandering confused in the parking lot. After she shied away a couple of times, I just pointed and announced "This dog is lost and running loose in traffic!" Half a dozen random strangers surrounded her while one person gently coaxed her over with treats, and I walked down to the beach to find her inattentive owner.

Just like any other dog park, Hendry's has its fair share of clueless dog owners and obnoxious dogs. Unlike most dog parks though, most of the people there aren't expecting every dog on the beach to play with theirs. Some people park themselves in one spot and expect their dog to entertain itself.

Brisbane needs a job to do, so I always bring the Chuckit! launcher and an Ultra Ball. Without these talismans, Brisbane will either attach himself to the first person he sees with a Chuckit!, or attempt to herd ladies wearing sunglasses and big hats. The sand is the perfect place for him to run and jump without putting too much stress on his joints or feet.

The biggest problem we have at the dog beach is with other dogs harassing Brisbane while he performs his sacred duty.

Brisbane doesn't care if another dog wants to chase him, run with him, or chase his ball. Briz doesn't even care if the other dog gets the ball every single time. He does care when the other dog "plays" by smashing into him, though. Once a very large dog body-checked him so hard he went flying. That dog's owner saw my look of horror and explained "Your dog ran into my dog." Just like any other dog park, avoiding the beach on weekends and particularly sunny afternoons generally helps us steer clear of the poorly-socialized dogs that don't get out much. Most of the time it's just the us regulars waving to each other as we pass.

This is not a groomed beach, so all sorts of things wash up and stay there. Ru enjoys sniffing the seaweed piles and rocks. Brisbane enjoys rolling in the occasional dead bird or sea lion. Ew.

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