Sasha loves the beach, but I think she prefers it in winter. In the summer, see, we disappear into the ocean, and she likes it best when we walk along a throw twigs or trunks of kelp for her to retrieve. She dashes along or into the ocean, whatever is needed, and becomes a dripping sandbag, intent, focussed, having a blast.
This summer she found a solution. In fact, she found more than one. When she has found her preferred stick of seaweed, she just reverses the procedure. She swims out to us with it in her mouth, so that we can throw it onto the beach for her. I saw her other answer to the problem as I was swimming along one afternoon, keeping half an eye on my dogs. I watched her seduce not one but three guys in a single day. No one is indispensable. She goes right up to her chosen playmate, neatly puts her piece of seaweed down right in front of them, and looks up hopefully, wagging her tail. She knows those golden brown eyes are irresistible. A white man, a man of colour, and a young man who walks with difficulty, all fell for it. In fact, I think her vote of confidence made the young guy’s day.
Then there are the tortoises at Julian’s house-sit. You’d think feeding two tortoises was uncomplicated. He has to take out things like carrots and lettuce to their big enclosure in the garden every day, but he missed one evening, and went out the following morning with the goodies. The large male, who obviously has a well-developed sense of his rights, walked right up to him aggressively and surprisingly fast when he entered. Then he pulled in his head and continued “running”. He head-butted him with his shell! Julian hasn’t dared to be late again.
To have a great tortoise moment, watch this, “When you need a flippin’ friend”:
Then, of course, there is the combination of Sasha and tortoises. She thinks they are the obvious targets for retrieving, and on a single walk she will sometimes bring us as many as five from the slopes next to the mountain paths. We decided not to be angry, because left to herself, she may well leave them upside down, so we thank her but insist she puts them down for us to return to the bushes.
Once, I confess, she brought me a tortoise while I was swimming in a dam and DROPPED IT in the water! I desperately felt around and found it on an underwater rock. When I put it on the dry ground, it wasted no time hiding in its shell, as they do when Sasha is carrying them, but stuck its neck out and stalked off in a real huff – away from the water!
She has tried everything to get one home: trying to sneak a little one into the car in her mouth, shameless begging at the car door, and hiding a tortoise near the door while she distracts us with kisses. I think she’s beginning to accept that she will never be allowed to take one home as a toy. Ah well.