It’s hard to fathom that Cleo, my 12-pound gutsy terrier mix, is 11. That makes her roughly 60 years old in human years. Yet, she brought her A game, her endless energy and her love of the ocean as one of 70 dogs competing in the annual Surf-a-Thon to benefit the Helen Woodward Animal Center. This year’s event drew thousands to the Del Mar dog beach — many wanting to witness firsthand how dogs of all sizes (and ages, right, Cleo?) really dig riding waves on foam surfboards.
I jokingly refer to Cleo as the “Betty White of K9 Surfers” due to her age, but as these photos will attest, she is determined to glide to shore. The event drew Bulldogs, Great Danes, Chihuahuas and plenty of mixed breeds all barking at the chance to surf. Among the more famous canine celebrities participating were Dozer (the overall champion), Surf-Dog Ricochet, Louie the Bulldog, Kiwi, Abby, Kilani and Kona. I give a special paws-up salute to Peter Noll, co-founder of So Cal Surf Dogs, who tirelessly spends many weekends volunteering to teach dogs and their people the safe way to surf. He also served as the announcer for this year’s event. The highlight of the event came when Noll’s beloved Bernese Mountain Dog, Nani, who retired in 2012, became the second dog to be inducted into the Surf Dog Hall of Fame. Congrats!
Cleo managed to glide in on a few waves and also made some spectacular spills. We finished in the middle of the pack. That’s fine with us.
Dog surfing is just the latest canine sport. Finding an activity that you can do with your dog that you both enjoy is one of the best ways to bond with your dog. What’s a favorite activity that you and your dog enjoy? Share!