It’s time to return to the lake with happy dog Ellie B

Ellie B, aka Dogamous Pyle, wishes I had brought the longer leash. Or I had longer arms.

Ellie B, aka Dogamous Pyle, wishes I had brought the longer leash. Or I had longer arms.

Summer arrived in Syracuse this weekend. Warmth. Sunshine. My dear wife Karen was feeling a little under the weather Saturday, remnants of a late spring head cold still kicking her sinuses pretty good.

I hooked the Gentle Leader around Ellie B, aka Dogamous Pyle’s nose, attached her short blue leash, and coaxed her up into the back seat of my Chevy.

Actually, I lifted our dear rescue mutt into the back seat. She’ll put her front paws up, but that’s as far she’ll elevate on her own. I had to do some heavy lifting.

We headed to my favorite Syracuse area walking trail, along the shore of Onondaga Lake.

Gentle Leader or not, Ellie B wanted in the water big time. I wished immediately that I had brought her longer leash.

I let her frolic on the edges until my arm got tired. Two summers in a row , we’ve taken Ellie B with us on our week’s vacation to Cape Cod. Each visit, she’s warmed to the water a little more.

I know what you are thinking. But I dare not unclip this dog from her leash. For one, there is a leash law. I consider that sacred. With this enthusiastic dog, I also fear that one moment of freedom could very well result in:

Ellie B doggie-paddling to the other side of the lake, running across the highway, and visiting the New York State Fairgrounds.

Ellie B sprinting out of the lake, running through my outstretched arms, and greeting every single one of the several hundred other dogs being walked by their owners on a leash this sunny Saturday.

Ellie B racing along the shoreline on her own to greet the ducks.

By the marina, folks have placed a dog cutout to keep away waterfowl. The fake dog interested my real dog. The real birds  on Onondaga Lake seemed unfazed by either.

By the marina, folks have placed a dog cutout to keep away waterfowl. The fake dog interested my real dog. The real birds on Onondaga Lake seemed unfazed by either.

Instead, she had to wait for me to walk along with her westward on the path, where the folks who run the marina have set up the black silhouette of a dog, in hopes of mitigating the effects of the natural bird habitat on the shoreline of the area.

I can’t say that it doesn’t work. One walk with Ellie B does not a study make.

But I certainly can’t say it works.

We saw plenty of birds along that stretch of water, and on the land.

Ellie B took a liking to the cut-out pooch. I told her to not expect any kind of warm greeting in return, but she investigated nevertheless.

Ellie B was quite respectful while taking a break from our walk on a bench dedicated to somebody's dear one.

Ellie B was quite respectful while taking a break from our walk on a bench dedicated to somebody’s dear one.

One of the nice things about the walking trail at Onondaga Lake Park is the line of benches dotting the path for those who wish to rest or just sit a spell to enjoy the scenery.

For a donation to the county park system, a plaque will be attached on a bench to honor any family member or friend.

I frequently read the names and messages and imagination how other folks have enjoyed these pretty premises together in years and decades past.

Ellie B jumped up to rest, and listened when I told her she had to be respectful because she had chosen a bench with a memory.

We’re sure to return for more lake shore investigations when Karen’s feeling fit to join us. Before we left, I purchased a bottle of cold water from the machine in the building by the parking lot, and delivered refreshment to a grateful Ellie B through a cupped hand. People watched us and smiled as she drank the whole thing. Good walk, good dog.

Where do you like to walk your dog the best? Do you have a path along a lake or waterfront near your home? Does your dog swim? Have you ever purchased a plaque or marker in memory or tribute for a loved one?

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53 thoughts on “It’s time to return to the lake with happy dog Ellie B

  1. If I were to get a marker, it would probably be for my parents, but the place has yet to be determined. A dog would be a nice little life additive in my future as well. We’re lucky to have a lot of nice waterside trails and parks around the area. You definitely had a great day to walk.

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    • Ellie B lapped up the atmosphere. Ba-dum-dum. I hope you figure out where to get a marker for your folks, Chris, before, not after. For all of you to walk to the spot to see it together for the first time would be priceless, don’t you think?

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  2. Why is the leash on her snout? I’ve never seen that. We put them on the collar. Nonetheless, she looks happy. I’m glad she was brave enough to want to get in the water. We took our dogs to the dog park a couple weeks ago, and they barely touched the water, so I told my son I’d pay him $5 if he’d walk the pier and toss Tonto in. And by golly, he did. And Tonto could swim! So that worked out.

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    • I’m glad Tonto could swim! If Tonto had sank, that might have been the worst $5 you ever spent, Kerbey.

      The leash is attached to Ellie B’s Gentle Leader. It is a contraption that gently tugs her head if she pulls too hard. Her obedience school trainers swore by it when she was yanking me around the doggie classroom. And it worked. I thought perhaps we could get rid of it as she matured, but every time we try to just go straight to the collar, as you say, she’s back to pulling my arm out of its socket. Maybe in time she’ll get less eager on the leash.

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  3. I know this post is about Ellie B and your walk but I just wanted to say that I like how you call Karen, ‘my dear wife.’ A wise man once told me that it’s not enough to love your wife, you must cherish her… (it seems you do) 🙂
    Diana xo

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  4. Ellie B. looks like a happy camper there Mark. You could have waded in with her, you know. When my little Max was living he loved going to a state park just outside Owensboro, where he would walk me for miles until his short legs were too tired to move, then turn, sit, and look up at me with those huge brown eyes, like he was telling me “okay mom, I did my part, now carry me back to the car.” He weighed 9 pounds when we got started, but by the time we reached the car, I swear the stinkin’ mutt weighed more like 90 pounds. If I tried to put him down to walk part of the way back he just sat there and looked at me. It’s just a good thing he was so sweet and cute.

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    • That is one great Max story, Angie. I would do the same for Ellie B, and she would start the trip back at 70 pounds. I would be in biiiiig trouble. As far as wading in with her, ah, no thank you. Not my thing. I never was a lake water lover. Or tolerator, even.

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  5. what a pretty setting for this great walk/swim you two took. you were so lucky that the day was a beauty. and i found it so funny that she was drawn to the statue )

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    • She went both to the doctor, to get clearance, and back to work today, Ann. Thanks for checking in on her. She’s feeling a little better but doggone tired from her first day back in the office after three days of working from home and staying in all weekend.

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  6. There is a park here in Memphis, called Shelby Farms (but they farm nothing there but buffalo shit and snapping turtles). Often we take Le Henri (Vizsla Hound). While on the trials, my GF often wants to unleash his inner hound (literally). This scares the shit outta me. I am always afraid some buffalo will entice him to run off (which has happened before). I dread the day when that dog goes. My GF will be devastated.
    Not trying to bum out, but I worry about such things.

    Great post Mark.
    Loving a dog unconditionally is one of the greatest things about human evolution.

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    • You’d like to think that a dog would come back, but I think my dog has such a wild streak that she’d just go off on her own way and suddenly discover she no longer knew where she was. It sounds like your’s is the same way, Lance.

      Yes, dogs pretty much got it going on in the animal kingdom.

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  7. The last dog I had was ten years ago. So I don’t know if they still make the dog water bottle. It looks like a regular water bottle only it has an attachment you pull down so the dog can drink out this cup. But you probably prefer the bonding with him drinking from your hands.

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  8. Ellie B is just the cutest! My old boss used to have a boarder collie mix and I would take her to the parks where she actually turned me into a runner, as after a brisk walk she’d just look at me like, “that’s it?” Fabulous post. And a fabulous canine friend you have there, Mark!

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