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I just found this Animal Planet TV story on YouTube, from the early 1990's - my first dog son, Howdy Doody. Together we windsurfed, skurfed behind ski boats and surfed waves at our favorite beach, OB's Dog Beach in San Diego.
I miss my first bassador - basset/lab - Dog Beach ambassador. He is the dog that started it all - windsurfing was all his idea. Dude and later Doodle were named after the late great Howdy Doody.
Howdy was the first Windsurfing Dog I ever heard of, and the second surfing dog ever. Back then, we did a ton of national media interviews, trying to rally support for the Dog Beach Improvement Project.
There was a magazine spread in PetLife, stories in San Diego Union Tribune, Beach and Bay Press, local TV and all the major networks. What a rush! Special thanks to Ann, a San Diego TV viewer who also had a basset and recorded this story off air and posted it on her YouTube page! I just happened to find it while searching for windsurf videos...
Oh, look at that - it's the sweet, sappy happy/sad basset face of my Howdy.
Makes me feel happy/sad and sappy - a face from 25 years ago.
I'd forgotten what his bark sounded like, but I will never forget how he changed my life. Or Dog Beach.
I adopted him from San Diego Humane Society - I found our later, it would have been his last day on Earth. He'd been adopted and returned several times and was labelled an incorrigible pet.
There we were, at closing time on a Saturday night at the shelter - our eyes met across the room. You know the rest... I took him home!
I remember that he was afraid of cars at first. And he couldn't run away and leave me often enough. He really tested me. And together, we really grew. We ran away together, on a board.
Howdy later became my co-chair of the Dog Beach Committee of the Ocean Beach Town Council (OBTC.)
With our co chair Dave Martin, we managed the Dog Beach Improvement Project that completely renovated our favorite beach in the 1990's.
Howdy, the incorrigible pet, became a pillar of the community. And he became my family, my son and my bff. The patriarch of our surf dog family that came along after he showed us how.
Howdy's name and mine - and all the others that gave back - are etched in bronze at the Dog Beach entryway:
Together with the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, Ocean Beach Town Council, and so many generous donors and dog-lovers, we fixed up Dog Beach over a decade, and dedicated it July 26, 2003.
We will always love OB, our old home town.
It is a magical place - one of the last true So Cal beach towns in the US.
Dog Beach is an icon of the community - people and pets travel there from all over the world- to romp and run in waves and sand, and surf - with their dog kids and a sea of dog lovers. Dogs here are leash free and proud. It is the first leash free beach in America.
Give back - however you can - it is why we are here - to leave the place better than we found it.
And let us celebrate the lives of those we have loved and lost.
They make us better people.