Terror on the high seas

by Constance Hood

Storm clouds floated by – either clearing away or threatening more to come. We strolled on the wet sand with our two golden retrievers. Perhaps a dozen people and a few dogs were out between the rains.

Ten–month old Clifford leaps and dives like a dolphin, snapping at the seafoam, and chasing birds when he can find them. Ten­–year old Hector, white faced and arthritic, moseys along with me. I turn, and Hector decides to slide down a four–foot sand berm to play in the surf with his puppy. There’s no way Hector can get back up on the beach safely. His jumping days are long past. The two are snapping at waves, and Chet and I will have to fish Hector out of the rough water. Between the two of us we have one working knee. Chet starts climbing down wet rocks, using his cane to balance himself.

A young man jumps over the rail. Hector has fallen and can’t get up. The hero of the day lifts a 75-pound dog, mud, sand and water – carries him in his arms back to us. He is not wearing surf clothes – jeans, shoes, jacket are soaked and it’s a cold day.

“No thank you” when we offered to buy him lunch. I wish I knew him, to express my gratitude.

Kind, selfless—someone who saw a much­­–loved pet in trouble and moved without thinking another minute. That’s the America I grew up in. It said so much about the day, and the walks we were all taking in the moment of sunshine between the storm clouds.

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