Schnauzer breaks silence on torturous surf routine for dogs

A Schnauzer has broken his silence on what some dogs really think about dog surfing events. Photo: Screenshot/Searle

On a recent sunny day in California, a pack of dogs roamed the beach. The waves were high and there were surfers in the water. But these weren’t ordinary surfers, they were dogs. Their owners laughed and smiled outside the waves, their teeth glinting in the sun, clapping as they pushed their four-legged friends into a wave. Everything looked nice and good. So much the better, that is, until a dog chooses to speak.

“It’s not what it looks like,” he told me, his tail tucked between his legs in a classic fear indicator. “They force us to do this. Honestly, we’re all terrified. We don’t understand what joy they can derive from doing this to us.

The dog – I’ll call him Spot, as he asked to remain anonymous – is a Schnauzer mix. He’s a good swimmer who likes to swim after poles on occasion, but surfing, he told me, isn’t what he, or most other dogs, for that matter, is. supposed to do.

“I mean, yeah, some of us like to swim, but you don’t understand how terrifying it is for us,” he said, looking sadly at the beach. Its owner, a blonde woman wearing khaki shorts and a floral blouse, ran frantically down the beach shouting her name. It was his turn to surf in a canine surfing contest, and she had to put on his life jacket.

“Just the fact that they put life jackets on us should tell you something,” Spot said. “For example, if you’re worried that we need life jackets, why are you forcing us to do this?”

When I spoke with him, Spot had managed to evade his owner for a few minutes. He noticed my clipboard, pen, and press badge, and he caught my eye by dropping a stick at my feet. When I bent down to pick it up and toss it to him, he whispered in my ear.

“You cover that thing?” He asked. “I want to whistle. It’s not for us. This is for our owners. ‘Man’s best friend’ my ass.

We hid in a shady spot under a tree and Spot started talking. His story is sad, but not uncommon. He was rescued from a shelter at a young age and then, in his words, “forced into a life that revolves solely around surfing”.

As he spoke, his hair stood on end. He stopped, tears in his eyes, as a Boston Terrier, eyes bulging behind ill-fitting goggles, clung desperately to the surfboard as it bounced violently towards the shore. Spot lifted his paw and pointed at him. His owner was dancing in the waves behind him, waving his arms and shouting with the passion of a hockey dad. Spit escaped from his lips. His eyes held a kind of mad pride.

“You see this Boston?” Spot said softly. “It’s Louie. He can’t swim. His hind legs sink when he tries. But his owner insists on doing this to him every few months. Louie was hilarious. He used to run, laugh and to bark. He did this funny thing where he held a Frisbee in his mouth upside down so he couldn’t see. He was bumping into things just to make us laugh. Now he doesn’t is more than a shell of himself, constantly worried about being thrown into a wave. That’s abuse. We all think that way, but we can’t talk about it because we’ve been trained to don’t do it. Sit down, stay, shut up. You know the refrain.”

Spot told me his owner first put him on a surfboard as a puppy. He had just been released from the shelter a few days before and hadn’t even learned to swim yet. He wanted to please his new owner, so he did what was expected of him.

“I was still doing this thing where you paddle through the air when your owner is holding you above the water, but I had never really set foot in it,” he recalls. “All of a sudden he’s got me on this surfboard and paddles with me. I wanted to get off and go back to shore, but I knew he had those liver treats in the car bag, so I did. I didn’t know at the time what I was getting myself into. »

Spot surfed well that day, but it was just the start of a less wacky, more training-focused life.

“I wake up every day and my owner makes me do slackline and Indoboard exercises right away. Then I get my kibble and off I go for another hour of slacklining in the garden. After a break of five minutes in the water, we go straight to the apnea exercises. My Vmax numbers have already skyrocketed, because I’m a dog. But I have trouble rocking underwater, you know? It’s difficult to hold a rock when you don’t have thumbs.

It should be noted, however, that Spot’s training paid off. He’s a three-time canine surfing world champion, but in his eyes, the juice wasn’t worth it.

“I exercise a lot,” he told me, “but I can’t help but feel like I’ve missed out on my puppy life. I spent it training, training, training. I never even learned to sit on command, because it’s not necessary to surf with a dog. It’s a little embarrassing. This is the most basic command, and I can’t even do it. Don’t even make me stay either.

When I asked Spot what he hoped to accomplish by talking to me, he turned his head thoughtfully, staring out at the ocean.

“I guess I just hope you tell my story,” he said. “It’s too late for me, but I hope you can open people’s eyes to this very real problem. Sure, there might be a dog here and there that likes to surf, but they’re rare. Most dogs? We don’t like surfing. We just do it because we don’t know there is another option. And if I can get just one owner to stop forcing their dog to surf…well, I will have done something meaningful.

Editor’s note: Johnny Utah is an “Eff-Bee-Eye” agent and expert in satirical works. More of his investigative work can be found here.

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