Dogs are just the greatest. They’re cute and they will protect little babies and they love you even if you’re a shithead and they, like someone once said, are “the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” Some of them like to surf, but despite many owners’ desperate attempts to convince themselves that their dog’s terrified thrashings are actually indicators of fun, the majority do not, as we recently found out. But wait! Some dogs (most) do like the ocean, and some dogs (most) like to have a purpose in life. That purpose should not be to be forced into a surfing competition that they obviously hate, however. Well, Italy has dog lifeguards. Real dog lifeguards. Like working cattle dogs of the sea!
If I were drowning and someone threw a floppy but determined golden lab at me, I would die happy. Hopefully, though, I wouldn’t die, because the purpose of the dog lifeguard is to prevent drowning and far be it from me to deprive a dog of his purpose. I would simply be happy because there was a large wet dog wearing a life jacket dragging me to safety. Then, of course, the dog and I would form an unbreakable bond and move to a farm in the country, spending our mornings in quiet contemplation, staring out the window while I scratched his ears. “You’re a good boy,” I’d tell him. “You’re my good boy.” He would look up at me knowingly and wag his tail, just once. Our afternoons would be spent chasing butterflies and rolling in the dust together. Then, after years of happiness, he would die in a ray of sunlight on his favorite dusty yellow rug while I wept at his side, stroking his head and knowing that death is simply a necessary part of life, but still heartbroken that I was losing my best friend. He would look at me with those deep brown eyes and he, through that bond we formed all those years ago during that desperate rescue, would tell me that everything was going to be ok. We made each other’s lives brighter for a few short years, and all that sweet pleasure was worth it because the dark pain of loss would fade with time and all I’d be left with was the memory of our happiness. Ah, dogs.