Celebrating summer with a little SUP pup moment.Read More
Quiet stillness. Like something’s about to happen.
Oregon winter - a nonstop deluge of dreary grey skies. Downward dog days. Sometimes we slow down, go inside like nature intended. When fireplace is your closest friend.
Dog 'n cat curled up together in bed. The new 2-dog night after we lost our old dog besties - the basset brothers Dude and Elvis.
A year ago this week, we lost Dude in Snowmeggadon. Last winter was too much for him, the strong yet fragile one. It was all too much for the rest of us.
I can’t stop thinking about him now and how much I learned about plucky perseverance from his mighty dog soul, facing so many challenges in his 13.5 years (that's 95 for you dogs.)
Blind dog. Pirate surf dog. Cancer dog. Doggie Alzheimer’s. Grace and dignity. That was our Dude.
Double lap dog nights.
Tia and Doodle – burrowing under covers. Unwilling besties – not quite bffs, but it’s a start.
Same weight, 16 pounds each – she, the behemoth fatty catty and he, the doxie diminutive. Lion and lamb. Not sure who the lamb is….
Same overwhelming personality – no shrinking Violet’s here. Jockeying for, muscling out – Olympic trials for the best spot on her lap.
Oh that’s right – it’s me. My lap, my kiddos.
Doodle the doxie has a tumor on his head.
It came up, growing like a bad seed, out of nowhere, around Christmas. My deepest, Darkest Fear. We need to get that growth removed.
Remembering tumors of the past, the cancer and the surgeries. Why is it that dogs get sick, anyway? It's so not fair. I’m not ready for that yet.
No more medically fragile years for any of us, for a number of years, I hope. Doodle is a young dog.
OK, well, now that I think about it, he's technically middle aged - 45 in dog years. But don't tell him that. Or the part about the tumor, please.
HOOORAY for Doodle Day!!!
At the same time - saving grace - a raucous celebration! His 6th birthday – or really 6th anniversary of adoption day - tomorrow…. 1/22/12 was the big day.
Wow, I just did the math. Six years ago this week, I adopted Doodle. And a year ago this week, we lost Dude on 1/20/17.
What’s the saying... “when a door closes, a window opens.”
Speaking of windows - there they are. At the window, quail, hunting for seed left under the bird feeder in our Mosier front yard.
The fleeting quail family visit– so quick to arrive – so flighty. I can't live without them, but clearly they can take us or leave me.
Their visit is reassuring. Everything is OK. The coo announces their arrival – Big Man Quail Leader Dude, calling his tight knit family of 17.
They sneak in, under cover, materializing as if beamed up from the Starship Enterprise, from the few plants in the yard that still have leaves. They hurry, scurry, to their Leader Dude.
Selfishly, I leave seed where I can peak at them. They refuse to have their photo taken, try as I might for the last 10 years.
They commute the same paths, most every day from above our house through our yard, then off to the neighbor’s yard for another sneak peak viewing.
SUP dog days!
Fleeting friend sunshine comes out when you least expect her - HOOOOOORAYYY!!!!!
Load up the board, quick, let’s hit the river before Ma Nature changes her mind! Bundle up SUP pup; we’re in our warmest wetsuits and vests. Double leashes, just in case, though neither of us has any intention of falling in.
Savor and celebrate the gift – a quick slice of sun, ever elusive. Not like that place we used to live, where all you had was ridiculous sunshine. Maybe more upward dogs live there today? I can just hear my old San Diego friends snickering.
Here, water is 45, air maybe 50. At most. And that’s ridiculously warm for Oregon.
And still, we love her to the depths of our souls. Her raw nature, her forest majesty. Her small town experience. Old soul, Oregon.
Snow is MIA – whassup with that?
Seriously now – you’re missing Snowmeggadon today, too? No way! I’m afraid to say that out loud. We’re bruised after last winter’s storms, but be careful what you wish for.
Looks like spring green has come early – hills are not barren and brown - Hooray! But … pay now or pay later. Remember last fall’s Eagle Creek Fire. And the year before, a drought emergency.
As an Emergency Manager (aka Disaster Girl,) I worry about Ma Nature sometimes.
Remember the window. The undercover covey, sent in for the rescue.
No endless downward dogging allowed.
Dear Dog Diary:
Every single thing I’m gonna tell you really happened. Nothing’s made up. You couldn’t make this stuff up. What I didn’t see or live myself, I learned from my dog bro’s, my mom, my kitty sis or some other animal relative.
I am Doodle, fourth generation Ayers family surf dog. The surf dog thing started long before me – almost 30 years ago - before dog surfing was even a sport – at Dog Beach in San Diego. Before surf dog contests were even invented.
My dog mom Barb Ayers and my basset bro’s made that scene in So Cal and came home with prizes for dog surfing.
Our family surf dog hang 20 legacy was handed down, dog to dog – from Howdy to Elvis to Dude and to me. I came along in January 2012, the first doxie of the pack. I did my first surf dog contest a year later.
These are our Surf Dog Diaries, memoir stories - all real life, not fiction, not a novel - but totally novel. We are a pack of rescue dogs who found our way from sadness to surfing.
But Diary - you need to overlook my writing skills. Typing skills.
My toes are too pointy and hairy for typing. Lip flapping - talking - is for you dog people. I’m not a verbal guy.
I speak with body. My spine. My nose. My actions. My heart.
I had a little help with the writing part.
Our surf dog story is about finding your way in a world that has totally changed.
About being changed.
Big, blaring cities with wall-to-wall houses, where no one knows each other any more. That’s why we escaped to a dinky dog town in the Pacific Northwest.
We moved from Dog Beach, California to Dog River, Oregon a decade ago.
Back in Cali, beaches crowded with too many towels and tourists. Houses three feet apart sell for a million bucks. The 3-feet-apart part is why everyone hangs at Dog Beach. It’s like San Diego’s national park for surfers, dogs and dog people. Home of Mother Ocean - our old friend.
Our other old friend, San Diego River, the first river of California, is now penned in, paved over - just a glinty tinkle along the I-8 freeway, with a trolley on top, on the way to the mall. River - she floods each year, stealing back parking spaces from Fashion Valley, on her way to Dog Beach. In San Diego, being one with nature meant watching River overflow in big rains – dumping yucky stuff into Ocean at our favorite beach.
Or going to that famous zoo or safari park my mom worked for. Or camping in the desert. Or escaping across the Mexico border, surfing in Baja – which is still sleepy and old school, how US beaches used to look.
That's when our pack started taking surfing safaris. And ended up in the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.
We love life in small town America - Hood River, Oregon. Mosier, White Salmon, Parkdale, Stevenson, and other dixky-doxie-sized towns in the Gorge.
So Cali’s - we love you guys, but there were just too many of you any more.
These are the secret Surf Dog Diaries. Moments between moments.
Melting hearts of grownups, who've outgrown the magic of life. That’s our #1 job as rescue dogs. As kids.
Inside all of that grownup human species tough talk, is a little puppy. Sometimes with all the talk, you people just miss out on the best parts of life. I’m pretty convinced that’s exactly why dogs don’t talk.
We need each other - extroverts and introverts. People and puppies. Parents and kids. Windsurfers, surfers and SUPpers (stand up paddleboarders.) Grand dogs and seniors. “Domesticated” dogs, feral and wild child friends. People in small towns and big cities all over the world.
My thing is body language - not human blah blah blah words in the air.
Meaningful looks. Heavy sighs. Toes touching mom's on a surfboard ride. A gentle lick on the hand when you need it most. Long leaners - your whole bod smashed against hers, solid and reliable. Thoughtful butt sniffing. Wild bunny chasing dreams on hardwood floors on a cold winter night. Camping snores in the middle of nowhere. Farts. Big dog hearts.
Somehow in our fam, that magically evolved into dogs hanging 20 toes on a surfboard together.
For years, I rode with my mom and my two dog bro’s - all four of us on board. Hang 70!
I am a carry on bag dog - flying through air - something none of my brothers could do.
I even tried surfing with a cat once. Well, that was just weird.
These are our stories. Come on inside. Circle around a couple of times - find just the right spot and plop down on the rug. Sit. Stay. For the secret surf dog handshake.