Yesterday I did something I've wanted to do since I moved here. We took George to Huntington beach- to this stretch of shoreline that is affectionately known as "Dog Beach."
It was hilarious. Picture puppy heaven- filled with frolicking pooches in the surf, sniffing each others' rear ends and chasing after endless tennis balls covered in sand. I immediately let George off his leash, and to my astonishment, he jumped in the surf to steal a ball from some Golden named Scout. I wasn't even sure he could swim. I'm not sure he knew either, but he was just going with the flow, folks. He had friends to impress.
With his snout covered in sand, George ran around, making buddies and running in and out of the water at breakneck speed. I started to relax, and waved to Matt and the kids who were watching the action farther up the beach. I popped my toes in the water, and made casual conversation with the owner of a 4 month old bulldog named Buddha.
And then I looked up.
And that's when I realized that George was gone.
GONE. G-O-N-E. I couldn't find him anywhere.
Not in the water, not stealing tennis balls, not up the beach- he was nowhere to be found. I walked down one side of the beach, and found about 10,000 other Black labs, but no George.
I walked back to Matt and the kids, hoping he may have popped back for a drink or a biscuit, but no luck. Instead, I instilled an air of fear with my kids who suddenly started yelling "WHERE'S THE DOG, MOM?" WHERE'S MY DOG? DID YOU LOSE OUR DOG?"
This Saturday went from happy to shitsville in the blink of one bulldog eye.
I plastered a fake smile on my face, and told the family I was going to walk down the shoreline again. That George was just playing a game, and I would bring him back. And then I walked. And walked. AND WALKED. Clutching my blue leash, I looked like some dog predator that scrutinized every single black lab to see if someone was trying to walk away with my now potty trained, and somewhat behaved dog. I started to think- was he stolen? Did he drown? Is he making out with some poodle under the pier?
About 2 miles away, I gave up and went to the nearby lifeguard stand. Sheepishly, I admitted I had lost my dog. The guy laughed, said no one ever steals dogs from Dog Beach, and that he would radio in to the other towers. I started to walk back to my family, empty handed, and not sure how I was going to face my kids when the guy ran up and said they had found George THREE MILES in the OPPOSITE direction.
My pooch? Apparently he's a runner. He looked a bit sheepish when I rescued him from the lifeguard office. But to my dismay, he also looked the tiniest bit proud. I've got to rest up if we're ever trying that outing again.