All of us, that is. Two adults, four kids, two pugs. It's one of those activities I saw ourselves doing as a family and having a lovely time together. Other families I've seen walking their dogs always look like they're having fun.
We were greeted on our arrival by the local rangers who had received complaints about dogs being let off their leads on a part of the beach that wasn't a leash-free area. They wanted to remind us that the leash-free part of the beach started 200 metres further down from where we were parked. As it turned out, we didn't let the dogs off their leads for the whole walk (except for one time when one of them escaped while Rosie was holding the lead). I think the complaint was probably directed at the owners of two enormous dogs (off their leashes) that the rangers couldn't see, but who we spotted hiding in the trees beside the walkway to the beach. It was a bit tempting to dob them in but we were kind and decided not to.
We forgot to check the tide times before we went and discovered we'd timed our arrival right on high tide. There were places where there wasn't a lot of beach left to walk on. The dogs weren't too keen on getting wet. They're pretty old dogs so they struggle to walk very far as well. I thought I might try and get them to move a bit faster so I started jogging (I didn't go out walking this morning so I wanted to jog a bit so I could feel like I'd done at least a few minutes of the moderate intensity exercise thing). The dog I was with at the time managed to jog for about ten metres before giving up. Towing him behind me didn't work too well because he just couldn't manage to move any faster. There went the jogging ambitions.
We probably tried to go just a little bit too far for the toddlers to cope with. One of them was riding on Daddy's shoulders. He hadn't had a morning sleep but he really needed one. For the last two hundred metres of our walk, his yelling was louder than the sound of the pounding waves. The other one whinged about wanting to go home for most of the way, although to give her some credit, she did stop and cheer up a little by the end of the walk, just as the one on Daddy's shoulders was getting started.
We've discovered that whenever we take them out, both our dogs like nothing more than finding the nearest patch of soft grass so they can get busy doing their business. One did it at the start of the walk. The other one did it as we were arriving back. Such a lovely way to start and end our family fun together. At least we remembered the plastic bags for the clean up. We've been caught without them before, but we know now that bags are a must have accessory to attach to the leash whenever we take them anywhere. As we were getting ready to drive home, I did mention to my husband that I wished we could get the dogs to go to the toilet before we leave home, the way you can get the kids to go. I might give it a go next time. They sometimes will go on command. But not very consistently.
All in all, it probably wasn't one of those beautiful moments of family fun that I'd visualised. It was okay. Maybe it will get better if we do it more often.