The Dogs of Saturday Morning
The Beach is Better with Coffee and Happy Dogs
Saturday morning is the Queen of Mornings. For many of us, it's the morning when we wake up with the most freedom we will have all week. On Saturday mornings, as at no other time, the world and the people in it leave us to our own devices, to work or play as we will. For a dedicated group of dog lovers in Santa Cruz, CA, there's only one thing to do with that gloriously blank slot on the weekly calendar. Dog Beach.
Dogs enjoy the beach as much as we do.
Technically, the beach involved is Lighthouse Field State Beach. Every Saturday morning, from eight to ten, the Friends of Lighthouse Field gather with their favorite canines to celebrate Saturday morning with coffee, donuts, and a whole lot of happy dogs. These responsible dog lovers arrive armed with small bags to clean up after their pets, large bags to clean up after less courteous human visitors, and some of the coolest, friendliest, and happiest dogs in town.
All photographs taken by the author.
Dogs on the Beach in the Morning - California Living at Its Finest
A rainbow of happy dogs on the beach!Last week brought Santa Cruz some badly needed rain. As a gardener and a childishly gleeful lover of storms, I was delighted to see it come. Dog beach, however, isn't much of an all-weather affair. Sure, a few brave souls and their water-loving hounds will brave the rain, but without the crowds of happy people and dogs (and without the coffee and donuts) dog beach wouldn't be the same. Friday night, I listened to the wind and rain lashing the house and resigned myself to a Saturday morning with no capering hounds but my own.
What a pleasant surprise when Saturday morning arrived clean and bright, if a little damp. A text to the lovely canine and her equally lovely companion with whom I attend Saturday mornings at Dog Beach confirmed that we were on. And so, on the third Saturday in January, perfectly comfortable in a light sweater, I watched dogs frolic in the sand and surf under a bright, cloud-patched sky. There are worse lives to have, and worse places to have them.
Well-behaved dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds
The dogs who frequent Dog Beach come in every color, shape, size, age, and breed. They are all well-behaved, friendly, and overjoyed to be there, as is the accompanying pack of coffee-swillin', donut-munchin', widely grinning humans.
Frida always gets her ball.
Some of the smallest dogs play with a wild abandon to match that of any dog on the beach, including my friend Frida, who looks smashing in her red jacket. Airborne but for one tiny foot in the sand, she is in hot pursuit of the ever elusive tennis ball.
On Saturday Morning in Santa Cruz, I would...
We have liftoff!
Photo by Cassandra Gregg
Saturday mornings at Dog Beach aren't for everyone! Folks who dislike dogs, are allergic to dogs, or travel in the company of twelve fierce cats will probably be happier on one of the other beaches, or on this beach at another, less highly dog-populated time. Fortunately, there are several other beaches in the immediate vicinity.
Where would you be on Saturday morning in Santa Cruz?
Winter Sunshine and More Dogs on Dog Beach - Yes, This is What Winter Looks Like Here!
Come on in, the water's fine!Lots of small dogs on Dog Beach today, sleek blurs consistently winning the races for tennis balls. These two took some time to frolic in the waves, and the sun itself couldn't help but smile down on them.
Till We Meet Again... - Dog Beach Comes but Once a Week
We say our goodbyes as the morning moves on, but these hours will bring us smiles all week long.When the time comes, goodbyes are exchanged and we straggle, in groups and pairs, off the beach, up the stairs, and back to the rest of our weeks. Always, I'm refreshed, soothed, and already looking forward to next Saturday's Dog Beach.
Does your community have a great place for well-behaved people and canines to congregate and play? Is there an offleash dog park nearby, or a beach, diner or pub with a dog-friendly patio?