How Do You Teach a Dog to Surf?

Mallory   Square on the western tip of Key West is the place to take sunset photos and the jetty can be six people deep on a busy night. Photography is guesswork with camera held high or you can just take a nice orangey picture with a stranger’s head in the foreground.

The first night produced the aforementioned head silhouettes. The second night we arrived half an hour before sunset and waited as people queued behind us to take pictures of the backs of our heads.

Sloops, catamarans, trimarans and schooners sailed back and forth on the shimmering sea as the sun descended and the blue sky transformed to peach and violet.

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The sea lost its twinkle as the light faded and the sky intensified to gold, then a deep burnt sienna. Disappointingly, there no clouds to create a dramatic effect.

As the sun touched the horizon, the color was rich but uninteresting until, exactly on cue, a flock of pigeons took off from the shore filling the bold, but plain, sun and sky scene.

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Perfect picture opportunities abound in the Keys.

I took a series of boring photos of geckos,

just because they were there, my camera was in my hand and any wildlife makes my shutter finger twitch. There is ‘G’ on the campfire ring, ‘G’ on the fence, ‘G’ on a post, a close up of ‘G’ showing his lizard skin and long lizard toes and a digital close up of ‘G’ showing his yellow-rimmed black lizard eye. One little ‘g’ ventured onto the picnic table next to me. With my eye to the viewfinder I pressed the shutter button, but when I lowered the camera, he was gone. Missed him. A quick glance at the small camera screen confirmed it.

When I downloaded the pics to the laptop Leaping Lizards! there he was in full stretch – legs thrust back and tail up for balance – halfway between the picnic table and the fence.Gecko, Long Key FL On our way to visit a wildlife reserve, we pulled off the road to stretch our legs and admire a wide expanse of water with its birdlife. It was windy but the water was calm, just right for a novice windsurfer. Dazed from the heat I didn’t realize at first that the tentative windsurfer had a passenger.

The board sailed smoothly out to sea, the ‘captain’ tacked ever so carefully edging his way around the mast and then sailed smoothly back to shore. The little guy at the front of the board, no wait, he has four legs, I thought. It was a dog – a black Labrador! He stood stiffly balanced on the ‘bow’ and as the sail filled with the wind bringing the board up to speed after the tack, his tongue lolled out and flapped pinkly in the wind. He was having a whale of a time. You would think this is one tall tale too far without the photographs.

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Capturing these photos takes no particular talent, just a camera to hand with the lens cap off. Cute and crazy photo ops are everywhere in tropical Florida. And if I’d been quick enough I would now have evidence to prove why the chicken crossed the road.

Of the thousands of photos on my hard drive, that is the one I really wished I’d taken.

Oh, and how do you teach a dog to surf? I have absolutely no idea.

39 thoughts on “How Do You Teach a Dog to Surf?

  1. Oh your photos are just brilliant… always wanted to capture a ship or yacht passing in front of the setting or rising sun… I just love all your photos today absolute brilliance…

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  2. Gosh, I’m proud to own that we’re related, you’ve been getting such wonderful kudos. Great photos, I’ll have to figure out the slide show one of these days. If you had tried to get the g leaping, you’d probably would have missed – that was a good catch.

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  3. There’s no way that smelly dog would surf, she’s jump off, swim home and bark on the shore till I came back. Although thinking about it, the dog wiill probably know how to windsurf before I do.
    I’ve sussed out who you are on my list of comments! Did you know that I’ve been chewing my own arms off in horror since you pointed out that glaringly huge mistake? I will never, EVER finish writing and copyedit my work at 2 in the morning ever, ever again 😦 YOu’ve made me all growed up now 😀

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      1. I would never smack you. Apart from in the French sense – “un gros smack” is a big kiss on the cheek 🙂 If it looks like I’d done it on purpose then I’ll go with the flow. I’m a copy-editor in “real life”, which is why I’ve been “hair-shirting” myself I know it deosn’t exoist as a verb… 🙂

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