5 Things I Learned Taking My Dog To A Dog Beach

5 Things I Learned Taking My Dog To A Dog Beach

How taking my dog to a dog beach taught me about my mental health.

I throw the ball into the Chesapeake and watch as Belle bounds into the water to fetch it. I clap my hands and call her name, encouraging her to swim back to me. It's her first time at a beach, and I'm nervous to let her go too far. But, as I watch my dog, my "little girl" as I call her, have fun swimming, I realize my smile is genuine.

Depression is a silent disease. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), it affects nearly 15.7 million adults in the United States. Whether you've been diagnosed with depression or not, if, like me, you suffer from depressive symptoms, you know how hard it can be to want to go do anything, let alone get out of bed.

According to Michigan State's Animal Legal & Historical Center, an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) "provides emotional support and comfort to individuals with psychiatric disabilities and other mental impairments."

Society has come to see the strong bond that develops between an animal and its person, and science is showing that animals can help to lower blood pressure, lower physiological response to stress with the animal present and an increase in exercise.

And that's why I have my dog, Belle.

If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be doing much of anything on my days off. I try to find things to do with her because I know if I can spend the day with her, I'll be alright. I decided to take her to a dog beach this past weekend – the dog beach at Downs Memorial Park in Pasadena, Maryland.

These are the five things I learned taking my dog to a dog beach for the first time.

1. Know your dog

Does your dog swim? Does your dog listen to you? I wouldn't recommend a dog beach, where an off-leash play is practically a must if the pup is still in the midst of beginner training. Belle started to wonder into some greens behind the beach, and, though she's an intensively curious little devil, she's pretty responsive to her name when she isn't supposed to do something (like wander too far). Also, know what your dog likes. If they don't like other dogs, maybe wait until it won't be busy. We went on a Saturday, so there were obviously a lot more dogs than there might be during the week. Knowing my dog also helps me; I have confidence in her, which means I have confidence in how I've trained her and worked with her. Knowing your dog helps you know yourself.

2. Bring toys

I don't know why I didn't think of this, to begin with, honestly. I realized as soon as we got there that all the other dog-parents brought some sort of ball to throw. Belle ended up "borrowing" someone else's tennis ball (which helped her make some friends), but I ended up going to PetSmart later in the weekend to invest in some high-quality toys for next time.

3. Bring a snack for yourself (and your pup, if necessary)

Belle hasn't eaten a mid-day meal since she was about eight months old. But I still do. And, somehow, I forgot food for myself. It took us an hour and 20 minutes to get to the dog beach, but we only got to stay for an hour because I forgot food.

4. Take pictures

This may seem obvious, but it's important. Of course, you must be able to pay attention to your pup while taking pictures. Yes, it's going to require a bit of multitasking, but it's worth it. For me, taking pictures reminds me of the day I had with Belle. When I am "having a moment," as I call it, I look at the pictures, and they make me smile. The pictures remind me that, no matter how I may feel at any given moment, she will always be there.

5. Dogs (and animals in general) incentivize us

If it weren't for Belle, I wouldn't have gone to that dog beach. Believe me, it took a lot of energy to get up in time, and even more energy to not cancel the plans altogether. But I knew she needed an adventure, and that meant I needed one too. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't go on evening walks; but she needs them, so I go. She has a regimen that I have to stick to, which means I have to get up and go about that regimen. The adage "I work so my dog can have a better life" is true: I work so I can provide what Belle needs, from food to the ability to go to daycamp. She's my incentive.

Cover Image Credit: Alexandria Pallat

Popular Right Now

I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.


Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Dreading This Day All About Love

Valentines day blues


I have never enjoyed Valentine's Day.

Even if when I was in a relationship it was just an awkward day of "hey I love you, give me gifts and lets make out." But this year, I am just not feeling this thing at all. Since the relationship ended last June I have just been dreading the time when February came, because you know that on the 14th you are going to see all these love post and all us singles are like "welp this is just not my day.", and honestly you feel defeated. I personally asked other singles friends (like the three I have) if they wanted to come and watch Netflix with me and dread the day, but sadly they either had school or work. So here is my plan of getting though this day of love:


Yes Netflix how else am I supposed to get through this day? Usually I have Greys Anatomy playing all the time but that has love in it, and I am not in the mood for that. My plan is to watch all the crime shows I can because watching TV crime series or documentary about serial killers just seems perfect for the 14th.



Yes sleeping. I don't have anywhere I need to be why not catch up on some zzz's


Yes I am going to eat my feelings with chocolate because why not? if I could I would get a giant slice of cake and live off that on the 14th but sadly I am stuck with the normal Heresy's chocolate and Reeses which will do their job.


me :)

This is my wonderful cat Kimber and she will be my partner in crime on the 14th. She will sleep, snuggle, cuddle, all day with me because I need that moral support of my fluffy cat.



If I am able to fit reading a book into my schedule of everything listed above then reading will go into that open spot. I always loved reading but with school it is hard to find the time to read for enjoyment. so this day will be the perfect day.

This is my plan for the 14th of February and hopefully this will help me get though this dreadful day. And if you are also single try this out :)

Related Content

Facebook Comments