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.