Lots of sunshine, lots of ocean and lots of meditative naps. My annual San Diego Dog Beach retreat with the hounds is stocked with the perfect ingredients for one relaxing, revitalizing getaway. Yet each year it consistently came with three ingredients we’d all prefer to live without:
- Sand in the bed
- Over-baking in the sun
- That icky wet dog smell
Year after year I just kind of learned to live with these things, the same way you learn to live with a rock in your shoe if you’re too lazy to stop and remove it. But this year I fought back. I was going to hurl that proverbial rock from my shoe, conquering the bed sand, the sun bake and the wet dog smell.
And I did it with three simple add-ons to my packing list.
Conquers sand in the bed
Not sure if anyone calls them “Dust Busters” anymore, but I am sure that rechargeable, hand-held vacuums suck up sand in bed like nobody’s business.
If you’re heading to Dog Beach, your hotel bed is going to end up sandy and wet. Even if there are two queen-sized beds in the room and you’re only planning to sleep on one of them, dogs have a certain way of choosing your sleeping bed to romp on right after an afternoon at the beach.
One year we tried a throw rug foot mat, which helped a tad for wiping off human feet before hopping into bed. But the dogs never got the hang of using it properly to wipe their paws. It helped a little.
The next year we tried a thick over-sheet that helped keep dog sand from seeping through the porous blanket into the main sheets. It helped a little more.
The third year I got really savvy. I packed the hand-held vacuum. Combined with the foot mat and non-porous top sheet, the vacuum provided the final touch every beach bed needs to prevent you from waking up with grit in your teeth.
Dog Beach Tent
Protects from wind and sun
When you live in the middle of the Arizona desert and drive more than six hours to reach the Pacific Ocean, you’ll be dang well sure you’re spending as much time as humanly possible on the beach before you return to cactus land.
But the amount of time that’s humanly possible in the sun is a bit different than the amount that’s dogly possible. Pooches tend to tucker out much quicker, probably because one dog hour in the sun is equivalent to seven human hours in the sun, no?
A sweet lil beach tent came to the rescue here. Not only did it serve to shield us from the beach wind and sun, but it worked as an ideal hiding place in case we wanted spy on passers-by. No one comes near the tents around Ocean Beach because they’re typically populated with hobo types who ask for money if you come within 25 feet of them.
Annihilates icky wet dog smell
The best add-on by far was a trio of essential oils, a plug-in diffuser and a spray bottle. Fill the diffuser and bottle with water mingled with a few drops of your favorite oils. Plug in the former. Shake up and spray the latter. Repeat as often as needed. You just got wiped out that icky wet dog smell.
Peppermint essential oil is strong without being overpowering. Vanilla adds a warm and cozy touch. Ylang Ylang adds a dollop of energy and has a really cool name.
All our future dog beach retreats will definitely include these magical items – along with the approximately 564 million other things we pack ur annual retreat is awash with comfort, peace and plenty of sand-free serenity.
What must-have items do you always bring along on retreats?
Dating an astronaut. Becoming an astronaut. Learning to speak Swahili. Your bucket list may be packed with all kinds of glorious things you want to do before you die; some tangible, some fantastical and some just for the fun of the thought.
And the thought of certain activities can be much more exciting that actually completing them. Think climbing Mount Everest or breeding lemurs.
That makes the traditional bucket list a bit impractical. The traditional list also has another factor working against it. Although the phrase and concept of a bucket list have been kicking around for years (excuse the pun), the term really roared into regular use after the release of the 2007 movie of the same name.
Subsequent mentions on TV shows that range from “Glee” to “NCIS” further cemented the concept into popular culture. And when anything soars into popular culture, you know what needs to happen next.
It’s time to rebel.