There are certain images that for me are just, well… American. One of them is the image of dogs playing on a beach. From catching frisbees to pulling on the bathing suit of the Coppertone Girl. But like that Coppertone ad, those images have faded into obscurity, no longer part of America as it exists today, but of some bygone era, a more innocent age. And I have to tell you, I miss it. As a dog owner and animal lover, I resent the fact that if I want to jump in my car and head down to the beach here in Los Angeles County with my dog and a frisbee, I can be assured to not only get kicked off the beach, but to take home a ticket with a several hundred dollar price tag. I don’t know what it’s like in other places, but I’ll tell you right now, Los Angeles is not the place to enact that particular aspect of the American Dream.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that not all dogs are friendly. Nor do all dogs play well with other dogs. And some dog owners simply don’t care enough to control their dog or, worse, clean up after them. And I respect people who are afraid of dogs. I’m sure they have their reasons and who am I to tell them they shouldn’t be afraid? But for the love of God, I just want to let my dog run free on the beach, splash around in the water, catch a frisbee and simply frolic in the sunshine!
Well, now he can. My dog, Gus, along with our friends Stacy and Oliver (Oliver is the canine half of that team), took a trip down to Huntington Beach to what is officially known as the Huntington Dog Beach. And I’m here to tell you, it’s heaven on Earth. As an east-coaster originally, I have to confess to not being crazy about the public beaches near my home here in L.A.. Santa Monica, Venice… They just don’t do it for me. But the Huntington Dog Beach felt just like the beaches of my youth. And Gus and Oliver and all the other dogs got to do what they do best. Run and play. And anyone who thinks a dog can’t smile just need visit this beach one sunny afternoon to know they can and they do. I’ve known about this beach for a long time and always found one reason or another not to make the trek (it’s almost an hour’s drive), but now that I know this kind of joy awaits us… I have a feeling this is about to become a very familiar routine.
If you own a dog and have been mourning the loss of a more innocent time when dogs and people frolicked together on a soft sandy beach with the waves crashing all around you and the sounds of happy, playful barks mixed with laughing adults and children, then make your way down to Huntington Beach where America is still alive and well.
Check out this little video. It’s a tad saccharine, but accurate.