Must Love Dogs


John had a date with Sally, who had just rescued a dog and named it Muffin. John wanted to go skim boarding at the beach, and he asked Sally to come with him. Of course, she had to bring Muffin, her Golden Retriever.

When they got to San Gregorio beach a park ranger said no dogs were allowed. They had to find a different way to reach the ocean.

John found a cliff with beach access. It was steep, but he thought he could get down the trail, then get the dog down, and then Sally would come down last.

Sally had put a choke chain on Muffin, and his leash was attached to the collar. This proved problematic when John needed to hold on to about twenty feet of rope strung between two poles to help hikers descend on the trail.

Holding onto the rope while also holding onto a dog was a problem. When he dropped the dog and had it hanging by the neck, the choke chain was pulling on Muffin’s throat, and John could hear the dog’s struggle to breathe. Muffin was spinning in the air while John worked his way down the path to the end of the rope.


John got the dog back to solid ground where it could take a breath of air. The next problem was getting Sally down the steep trail. She hung on like a trooper and made it down, the whole time stressing out about her little Muffin.

Once the trio hit the beach, all was forgotten. John was able to skim board, Muffin was able to run in the waves, and Sally could relax.

But then, they had to go back up the same trail.  John went first again, and this time he kept the dog on the ground but had to pull Muffin to get him to climb the steep path. Once again, the choke chain pulled on Muffin’s neck, and John could hear the dog gasping for air.

Sally down below didn’t like the sounds coming from her dog’s throat and became more stressed out. John pulled that dog up the path while also pulling himself. Twenty feet never seemed so long. At least the dog wasn’t dangling in the air as it had on the way down.

After the dog got to the top of the trail and could breathe a sigh of relief, John still had to get Sally up the hill.  He worked his way halfway down the rope and had her toss up the skim board. He got that up to the level part where Muffin was enjoying his break. Then John worked his way back down the path while holding onto the rope and grabbed Sally’s hand, pulling her up the hill while he pulled himself up first.

Dating Sally and her dog was a lot of work. John thought they might make better friends than relationship material.

Muffin was relieved to hear it.  Sally, not so much.

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