After a string of recent deaths, the Coast Guard is warning residents and visitors to Northern California’s coast not to try to rescue their dogs from the ocean.
Five people have drowned since November as they tried to save pets swept into the ocean by rogue waves.
Coast Guard, National Park and SPCA officials held a joint press conference Friday, aimed at spreading public awareness about water safety for pets and their owners.
Allison Lindquist, executive director of the East Bay SPCA, was among those advising pet owners not to go into rough ocean waters to save their dog.
“Dogs are naturally better swimmers because of their horizontal body mass,” Lindquist said. “They are built better for riding out the current.” She said the best thing to do is to follow the dog parallel to the shoreline and call its name.
“Just let the dog do its thing,” Lindquist said. “When the current subsides, the dog will swim back.”
Rogue or “sneaker” waves have claimed five lives in three separate incidents this winter, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
In each case, their dogs survived.
In November, a powerful surf swept a family dog out to sea at Big Lagoon Beach near Arcata in Humboldt County. The teenage son swam out to save the pet. Then the child’s mother and father noticed him struggling and swam out to save him. All three died. The dog made it back to shore.
On New Year’s Day, Charles Quaid, 59, of Richmond, died after attempting to rescue his wife and dog.
Last Sunday, Susan Kay Archer, 32, of Shelter Cove, was walking on Little Black Sand Beach with her boyfriend when she was swept out to sea with her dog and drowned. The dog made it back to shore.
Gabe Pulliam, a 13-year veteran of the Coast Guard and rescue swimmer, said most citizens they lack the equipment and training to rescue a dog from rough and frigid waters.
“People who walk their dogs on the beach and notice strong surf should stay above the line where the water laps up,” Pulliam said. “It’s fun to watch the waves roll in, but respect the ocean and never turn your back on it.”
Pulliam is featured in a handout about pets and ocean safety released by the Coast Guard.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beaches, california, coast guard, dangers, deaths, dogs, national park service, northern california, ocean, pacific, pets, rescue, rogue waves, safety, sea, sneaker waves, spca, swept, trying, warning, waves
Charles Quaid, 59, was walking along the beach with his wife when a large wave swept his dog into the ocean.
Quaid’s wife was also swept into the ocean at one point, but she was rescued by bystanders, and the dog managed to get back to shore on its own.
Quaid’s body was recovered in the ocean four hours later, after a search by helicopters and rescue teams from the fire department, U.S. Coast Guard, and National Park Service, according to ABC.
Quaid, who lived in Richmond, was described by his co-workers at a health care consulting firm as “a wonderful man” who “believed very passionately in everyone’s right to have equal access to health care.”
“He had a sense of our appreciation for what we’re doing here,” David Lansky, chief executive officer of Pacific Business Group on Health, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “One of his employees said this morning that he’d never in 30 years had a boss who he’d respected as much … He was honest and earnest and had integrity first and foremost.”
Quaid’s wife and dog were not injured.
The rough surf off the northern California coast claimed three other lives in November when a teenager and his mother and father were swept out to sea trying to rescue their family dog near Big Lagoon. An older daughter and the family dog survived.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 4th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, care, charles quaid, consultant, death, dies, dog, drowns, golden, health, ocean, pets, point reyes, rescue, retriever, shore, waves
Mary Elena Scott, 57, and her husband Howard Kuljian, 54, died at Big Lagoon, according to the Eureka Times-Standard.
Their bodies were recovered Saturday.
The couple’s son, 16-year-old Arcata High School student Gregory “Geddie” Kuljian – who was the first to go into the water after the family saw their dog, Fran, struggling in the waves – is still missing.
Students at Arcata High School honored Gregory Kuljian and his family yesterday by starting a Facebook campaign for people to “Wear Green For Geddie.” Green was the student’s favorite color.
U.S. Coast Guard officials said the search for Gregory Kuljian was suspended Saturday due to the fog and cold water temperatures.
Witnesses say the family of four was walking along the beach. One of them threw a stick in the water and the dog chased it. Seeing the dog in trouble, Gregory Kuljian entered the water and was able to grab the dog’s collar, but it fell off and the Gregory got swept up in the waves. The father entered the water after him, and the mother followed. All were unable to make it back to shore, according to the coroner’s office.
The dog survived, later managing to get out of the water on its own.
(Photo: An Arcata High School student writes on a poster memorial for fellow student Gregory Kuljian; Arcata High School Pepperbox)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 27th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arcata, arcata high school, beach, big lagoon, dog, dogs, drowned, drownings, eureka, Gregory Kuljian, Howard Kuljian, humboldt county, Mary Elena Scott, ocean, orick, pacific, pets, rescue, save, saving, swept, waves
Only once has Ace plunged into the surf with reckless abandon.
That was his first time. At a beach in Delaware, upon his first sighting of the Atlantic, he bolted out into the water, only to get hit face first with a giant wave that flipped him over. Ever since then, he has exercised caution, and only with encouragement from multiple people has it been possible to beckon him out any deeper than his knees.
Yesterday, though, as we continue to drag out our departure from Figure 8 Island in North Carolina, he ended up playing in the surf – and without seeming preoccupied about how big and scary the next wave might be. That was thanks to two dogs, a blue tennis ball and a girl named Georgia.
We’d stopped at the Winston house — the same family that provided a personalized watering station for Ace, complete with signage, over the weekend — to visit again with Mac, a golden retriever, and Jet, a black Lab.
Ace had seemed only mildly interested in the dogs on our earlier visit, partly because he was worn out, partly because that’s the way he is. While he immediately warms up to people, it takes him a while with dogs. (I’m the opposite). He’s nice enough upon meeting another dog, but it usually takes him 15 minutes or so of sniffing and acting aloof and reserved — especially with other big dogs — before he’ll even consider playing.
But getting together with Mac and Jet, and realizing there was no shade he could lay low in, he participated in some canine frolicking, all instigated by 8-year-old Georgia.
She’s a take charge sort, but not in a bossy way.
Georgia told me she plans to become an animal doctor. (That was her term, and a much more manageable one than “veterinarian.”) And she did seem to have a way with dogs — not just her own, Jet, but her aunt’s dog, Mac, and even Ace.
On the beach, she seemed a master choreographer, leading them in their antics, and she offered to throw the tennis ball I’d brought along, assuming Jet and Mac would chase it even though Ace wasn’t likely to.
At one point, I stood in the ocean with my camera and asked her to throw the ball over my head, so I could take pictures of Jet and Mac charging through the waves to get it. Surprisingly, a couple of times, Ace showed up in the frame, apparently not wanting to be left out of the fun.
Later, with the help of some peanut butter crackers, Georgia demonstrated Jet’s obedience skills, and soon had Mac and Ace under her spell as well.
One gets the sense, even at 8, and even if her plans to become an animal doctor change, Georgia is going to accomplish what she sets out to in life. When she heard I was writing a book, she asked to be in it. When told the book was based on my travels with Ace a year ago, she said she’d settle for being on ohmidog!
Told that would require permission from her parents, she left, returning a few minutes later with a note from her mother.
“I hereby allow ohmidog! to place any and all photos of my sweet Georgia “Peach” Winston,” it said. “Jet Winston, too!”
When I jokingly asked her if she wrote the note herself, Georgia said no, adding that she hasn’t mastered cursive yet.
I assured her that would be easy. It’s just like printing, only with waves.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animal doctors, animals, ball, beach, dogs, figure 8, figure 8 island, georgia, jet, mac, obedience, ocean, pets, photography, playing, surf, swimming, training, travels with ace, veterinarians, water, waves, winston
This photo seems to sum up Ace’s feelings (as I read them, anyway) about the ocean.
Upon seeing it, he starts acting half his age (I do too), gets totally energized (I do somewhat), and bolts into the water until a wave hits him and he starts having second thoughts.
He eagerly chased this ball into the ocean (and he’s not real into ball chasing) and scooped it up. Then, though his tail was in full curl – the barometer by which I measure his happiness – he got a look on his face that seemed to say “what am I doing in here?”
Then he rushed ashore before the next wave broke. He loves the ocean. But he has a slight fear, or should we say healthy respect, of waves.
Ace and I were in Wilmington visiting friends Steve and Louise Coggins, who we’ve told you about before, and who, in addition to putting us up, sponsored my table at a “Lunch with an Author” event at Cape Fear Community College.
The event, which raises money for creative writing scholarships, was pretty easy duty — a two minute speech, and lunch with a friendly group of people who, by virtue of sitting at my table, got my book (“DOG, INC.: How a Collection of Visionaries, Rebels, Eccentrics and Their Pets Launched the Commercial Dog Cloning Industry.”)
Among the dozen North Carolina authors appearing were Rory Flynn, the daughter of Errol Flynn and author of “The Baron of Mulholland”; Martha D. Peterson, a former CIA agent and author of “The Widow Spy;” and Katerina Katsarka, author of “Around a Greek Table, Recipes and Stories.” Katerina also stayed at the home of Steve and Louise, and brought along some the best spanakopita I’ve ever had.
Ace didn’t get any of that — I don’t think – but he did manage to mooch more than his share of treats at their home on Figure 8 Island.
As opposed to the hands-free bottle, or an IV Coca-Cola drip?
The only downside of the trip was a flat tire. Fortunately it didn’t take place until I had arrived on the island. Unfortunately, my spare tire, while it rides on the back of my Jeep, is temporarily trapped behind a locking bicycle rack.
A locking rack whose key disappeared a long time ago. (It’s pretty amazing that, in our 27,000-mile road trip with Ace, that never arose as an issue.)
That appeared to mean I would need a tow-job, and a whole new tire, even though the ones on my car are only about two weeks old.
The tow-truck man quickly located the hole, though, and plugged it up. He also passed on some useful beach knowledge — misting yourself with a Listerine-water mix (I presume in a hand-held bottle), will keep no-see-ums away.
It was far too quick a beach visit, but a thoroughly enjoyable one, especially for Ace, who got a sufficient amount of ocean time, a more than sufficient amount of treats, and some quiet time with his good friend Earl.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, beach, cape fear community college, coca cola, coke, dog inc., dogs, figure 8 island, flat tire, hand held bottle, john woestendiek, lunch with an author, north carolina, ocean, pets, road trip, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, waves, wilmington
While there’s much to scoff at when it comes to the industry that has blossomed around bidding farewell to our dead pets — especially those that promise life after death — I’m not quite ready to scoff at this idea.
In fact, I may even like the concept of turning your deceased dog into a tree.
But just so you can be sure I’m not shilling for the company behind this product, I would point out that you could probably do the same thing with your dog’s ashes without a special, fertilizer filled, biodegradable, $90 “Geos” urn.
The Geos urn — one of four offered by a company called Limbo Zoo — is designed to hold a pet’s ashes and serve as the medium in which a seedling (you supply it) can grow into a tree.
“The nutrients that conform this handcrafted earth-made urn combine with those of the fertile ashes to form a beautiful tree,” says the website.
The company also offers the “Nu” urn, which is made of sea salt and designed for burials at sea, and the “Samsara” urn, made of fine sand and designed for burials in fresh water, like a lake or river.
The urns are advertised as an environmentally responsible alternative and billed as both “durable,” and “biodegradable.” They’re designed to stay intact for a while, and then disintegrate over time.
The company is headquartered in Spain, and the urns are made there, but they have a U.S. distributor in Texas.
The Geos urns are made from a hardened organic compost and mineral soil bound with natural plant extracts. None of the urns include any animal products.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 15th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ashes, biodegradable, burial, compost, cremains, cremated, cremation, death, dog, funeral, geos, grieving, growth, industry, lake, life after death, limbo zoo, new life, nu, nutrients, ocean, pet, pet death, product, river, samsara, sand, sea, sea salt, seedling, tree, urns, water
Another good reason to bring your dog to the beach: They can chase the sharks away. At least these two in Australia did, with one going so far as to plunge under the water to give one of the lurking sharks a few nips.
The video, which has gone viral, was taken by this blogger.
We interrupt these kudzu dogs to bring you a sad announcement from the beach: It’s time for Ace and me leave it.
I’ve always had difficulty leaving the beach — any beach. But this one, near Wilmington, N.C., is especially hard to tear myself away from.
While I have renewed my offer to our hosts, Steve and Louise Coggins, to be their live in gardener, while I’ve again contemplated being an island stowaway, bouncing from one unvacated house to the next, while the beach still beckons, tugs and all but wraps its arms around me, it’s time to go.
But I’m sitting here for a few more minutes in Steve and Louise’s all but empty oceanfront house — they both having gone to work on Monday morning. I’ll just have one more cup of coffee while my camera, computer, and cell phone enjoy the same kind of recharging my stay here has provided me.
Then I’ll go. I promise.
I should also whip out a quick thank you note. That might take a while. Then maybe one more walk on the beach. Then I’ll go. Really.
As I can’t find a pen, this will have to suffice, and maybe they will happen upon it.
Dear Steve and Louise and Earl (that’s their dog, pictured at the bottom of this post),
Thanks so much for inviting Ace and me to spend the weekend — and for all the wonderful food and drink and friendship.
I think I speak for Ace as well when I say there’s no place we more enjoy being — in part because of the scenery, in larger part because of your graciousness.
Sorry that you didn’t feel the time was right for a live-in gardener, but the offer remains.
It was great to see you guys again, and Earl, too. I’ll take him out for a quick walk on the beach as soon as I finish writing this, though that may delay my projected departure by another 30 minutes or so.
As a small token of our esteem, we leave you with a few beachy photographs — measly pictures of the things you see in real life everyday. The far greater and unrepayable gift is the one you bestowed on us by inviting us down.
Love, John and Ace.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, beach, college, departure, dog, dogs, earl, figure 8 island, friends, leaving the beach, louise coggins, north carolina, ocean, pets, photography, reunion, road trip, shore, steve coggins, travel, travels with ace, vacation, wilmington
Surf dog Ricochet is at it again — recently helping a woman with no arms go surfing off the coast of California.
Arrangements were made for Sabine to receive lessons at AmpSurf, an organization that “brings the healing power of the ocean” to veterans and other people with disabilities by offering them an adaptive surfing experience.
Sabine is a survivor of birth defects caused by Thalidomide, a drug withdrawn from the market in 1961. She was born with no arms, but, as she often says, ”There is more than one way of doing things.”
Ricochet has learned as much herself: Bred to be a service dog, she flunked out of training class because of her tendency to chase birds. Instead, the golden retriever went on to become an accomplished surfer who, with her owner, helps people with disabilities experience the joy of surfing, raising money for charities in the process.
Sabine was originally scheduled to surf with Ricochet last summer. But after driving about 1,000 miles from her home in New Mexico to a surfing clinic in Pismo Beach, she sprained her ankle.
She promised to be back the next year, and she was.
On a cold and dreary day earlier this month, Sabine and Richochet caught more than a few waves.
For more info, please about Richocet, visit www.surfdogricochet.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ampsurf, animals, armless, assistance dogs, california, disabilities, dog, dogs, facebook, golden retriever, ocean, pets, ricochet, sabine becker, service dogs, surf dog, surf dog ricochet, surfer, surfing, thalidomide, therapy dogs
On our last west coast afternoon, Ace and I were wearily headed back to the motel after spending the day touring Monterey when the beach beckoned.
Knowing our route was going to take us inland, that there’d be no more Pacific Ocean views in our travels, I decided we should soak in all we could before we left. Ace didn’t object.
Marina State Beach was nearby, so I pulled in, only to see a sign that said dogs weren’t allowed. Hang gliders have dibs, it seems. So I headed north, probably less than a mile, and saw two trails leading to the beach. With more than an hour until the sunset, I grabbed a dog-hair covered blanket from the car and we hiked up a sandy path to the highest dune I could find, overlooking the ocean.
Winds had blown its surface smooth, so there was not a track anywhere to be seen, except those we left behind us.
I curled up under the blanket, and the sun came out from behind the clouds, providing some warmth, but not quite enough considering the cold winds that were blowing. I also noticed, even with my eyes closed, that something kept blocking the sun out — not for long periods, like clouds do, but in quick flashes. I opened my eyes to see what it was — a hang glider.
Then I re-situated myself, head on my camera bag. Ace curled up next to me, then nosed his way under the blanket. I rearranged it so it would cover us both.
I thought a pre-sunset nap was in order, but Ace, after a few cozy minutes, felt otherwise. He decided it was playtime, so he started squirming around under the blanket, then sat up and looked me straight in the eye. I stared back, knowing that he was in perfectly still alert mode and that the slightest movement I made he would interpret as playing.
So I got up, and he ran circles around me. Then he repeatedly charged at me, veering at the last possible second, looping around and coming back again. It’s our version of bullfighting — violence, blood, bull and cape free, though he does sometimes playfully snap at me when he passes by.
After 30 minutes of that, the sun began a quick descent. Ace lay still on the dune — which our playing had turned into a pockmarked mess — and watched with me.
Part of me, a very small part, felt as if I should smooth the dune out before I left, like I should have one of those little sand trap rakes golfers use and return it to its original condition.
The larger part of me said, naaaah, they were joyous divots, and merely temporary ones. Overnight winds would blow the dune smooth again — just as sure as the sun sets over the Pacific.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 25th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, bay, beach, beaches, california, coast, dog, dogs, dunes, hang gliding, marina, monterey, nature, ocean, pacific, pets, photography, play, road trip, sunset, sunsets, travel, travels with ace