… on midcoast island introductions

A few days have gone by since the coronation of HRH Princess Belle of Dingle, and I figured it was time that she begin to explore her kingdom… like beyond the gardens and castle walls and moats and stuff.

I was all, “Okay, c’mon Belle. Let’s head over to the car and what we’ll do is take a trip around the island. Do you know what an island is, Belle? Did you have any islands in Oklaho….”

She was not listening. She was pulling at the end of her leash with all her might, pretty much army-crawling/clawing her way along the ground toward Gronk*.

Did I mention Belle loves car rides?

She is also pretty smaht.

We are working on manners slowly, and also selectively and happily.

I cracked up when she got to the car, and remembered that there was no way she wasn’t getting in without sitting and then being told it was okay to go in.

She was sitting big time. Her bum touched the ground there… and there… and there and there and there. But she did not stand all the way up even once. So, in she got – and then in I got – and we headed out to explore the island.

On the way, I asked her – again, because she didn’t answer the first time – if she knew what an island was, and she did not.

I should say here that Belle’s words aren’t always understandable, so I have to do the best I can interpreting her vocalizations and body language. Sometimes it’s easier to have her write stuff out long-hand. 

I asked what she did remember from Oklahoma and she said, ‘tornadoes’. And then she got all excited and wondered if we had tornadoes on the island. I felt a little deflated telling her that we did not. But then I got kind of animated and blurted, “But we have blizzards!”. She didn’t seem impressed. “Nor’easters!” I exclaimed.

She said she loves easters. Because bunnies.

I just kept driving.

I felt bad that I couldn’t provide her with what she was used to in Oklahoma, even if it was tornadoes.

Then I had a brainstorm!

“Bella!” I said, excitedly, because sometimes I call her ‘Bella’ when I’m feeling multisyllabic.

“You know what? I do know what a tornado is and I just thought of something that kind of has to do with tornadoes!” So we headed to the Town Landing.

When we got out, I was all, “Okay, right over there! Look over there!” And she did…

“See that house right there? On the island that is off the tip of our island? That…” I paused for dramatic effect. “… is Margaret Hamilton’s house.”

She looked at the red house across the water, and then at me.


“You know!” I coaxed “The Wizard of Oz? The Wicked Witch of the West?”

Still nothing.

“The tornado…” I urged, “There’s no place like home…”


“I’ll get you my prettyyyyyyyyy!” I cackled and raised my hands up like claws.

She started wagging her tail and jumped up on me and licked my face, and I was sure she got it!

“I like when you call me pretty.” She said.


We hopped – well, she hopped (I climbed) – back into Gronk and I said we’d head for the beach and she was all “beach?” and I was all ‘Yep!’

We arrived at ‘Baby Beach’, which is what our kids have always called the little beach on the island. It’s really small, and sweet, and even has a lighthouse out on one point.

It occurred to me that Belle had not ever seen the ocean, so I ought to introduce her up close and in person. Baby Beach is pretty protected too, so there aren’t big waves. I figured this was the perfect place to meet the ocean and also sniff lots of things.

The very first thing that happened as we approached the water, was that a clam spit at Belle’s belly and she leapt up and sniffed all around and dug a little bit and it was very funny and she got lots of treats for being a very brave girl because clams can be real jerks sometimes. They are the anonymous trolls and nasty commenters of the beach scene. Easy to do when you’re buried in the sand and no one can see your slimy clam face.

Anyway, the beach scene was cool and there were many smells to be smelled.

And seen…

And smooshed and smelled again…

And after much exploring, Belle decided the beach was a really cool place but water that tries to get you, and then backs up, and tries to get you again? Well, that will take some getting used to.

Also it tasted like salt which did not seem to be a bonus.

We decided to get back into Gronk and head to my favorite harbor in Maine, which is called Cozy Harbor (and also Cosy Harbor), and happens to be right here on Southport Island.

By that time, Belle was getting comfortable in her new supermodel role and did the ‘gazing off into the distance’ pose rather excellently…

Several times…

Also, we met Ruby!

Ruby is a beautiful husky, who is often attached to one or both of our friends Alex and Jack.

Sadly, they have not prepared Ruby for a modeling career the way I have prepared Belle so…

I know. I think Ruby could be a real money-maker though, so we will have to work with her in the coming weeks and years.

After our visit to Cozy/Cosy Harbor, we decided to head home, and on the way I thought of my favorite exchange of the day.

At the Town Landing, Belle looked waaaaayyyyy over the side of the dock and spied a little boat far below.

Belle looked at me, puzzled.

“What’s it?”

I said it was a dinghy.

Her wHippy tail started to wag, and then wag faster. And then her bum started to wiggle.

I am a dinghy!” she tip-tapped all around.

“No,” I explained “You are a Dingle. A Dingle.”

She stayed happy and wiggly and kept calling herself a dinghy, over and over.


She is now our little midcoast maine island girl, and she is more than welcome to be a dinghy if she wants to.

She can call herself anything at all (pending Blaze approval, of course)…

As long as she knows she’s home.

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*Gronk is the name of my truck – after Rob Gronkowski, now retired, of the New England Patriots. Because both are lots of fun, and pretty tough. :))