Sea Side Stories

By Dave

Goober’s Origins

A simple name for a simple dog. Goober. My buddy.
I have to admit here that I’m not what people would call ‘a dog person.’ Until Goober, I had never had a dog and didn’t really think about having one. I lived here for a long time, dogless, and I didn’t miss being ‘of dog.’ And then one day, I was ‘dogged’ and have been ever since. This is obviously not doggerel.

Goober is not what one would call a purebred. He’s more like a loaf of bread, albeit a furry one, a usually filthy, tangled, goofy clown of a dog, not small enough to be cute, and not big enough to be threatening. In other words, he’s a mutt. I have no idea of his lineage and have never cared enough to pursue it. On rare occasions someone will say to me something about him looking like a blahblahdoodle or a blahblahblahmeranian or even a blahblahblahblahterrier, but these mean nothing to me, so I smile and thank them for the compliment (I hope they’re complimenting him!) and fuzzle his fur and hope the tangles and seaweed clumps aren’t too off-putting. And here’s the thing: I have a good group of friends here, a small group but all I need—in fact, every person in the community is my friend—but there’s only one friend who’s with me regardless of my moods, my tendencies, and my strengths and weaknesses. And that’s Goober. The Goobs. Goobishness. Gooberosity. Faithful Goober. The best dog in the world. Not the smartest, obviously, given his tendency to chase un-catchable Porsches (as you will see), but that’s one small weakness in a dog of magnificent strengths.

Here’s how we met:
It was one of those sunny days down by the tidepools, and I was hanging out at my favorite pool, checking out the aquatic life, specifically a large, greenish-turquoise Anthopleura elegantissima I’ve named Fred, and the inflow of the tide and its effects on said life…and Fred. This is something I’ve always done. Some people like to knit, some like to ride bikes, some like to stare at their phone. I like to tidepool. So there I was, engrossed in the ebb and flow of the sea into the pool and its effect on the flora and fauna, when I sensed a presence nearby. I turned, and there was a little tawny mutt, bedraggled I guess would be the appropriate term for him, looking sad and hungry and lost, giving me those patented sad eyes that dogs seem to know make mush of human beings. It worked. I sat on some relatively dry rock and held out my hand, and he ambled over and put his muzzle in my palm, and that was that. My dog.

I had a dog.
So I had to learn how to care for one. What food he liked (easy, since it turned out he’d eat virtually anything, including my shoes and any plastic items I’d left lying around), what he preferred to sleep on (not my bed…I like my bedding fur-free, stink-free, and dog breath-free), how he was going to get out for his nocturnal nature break and then back in afterwards, what to teach him to avoid and what to embrace, and so on. An endless array of things you never think of until you have a dog (or a child, though the particulars are slightly different). Truthfully, Goober has been about as low maintenance as a dog can be, far less hard to manage than Conkwright (whom you will meet), but then Conk is a poodle of some sort, and apparently they’re rather demanding of their owner.

But the best thing about Goober is his willingness to accompany me on some ridiculous adventure. Up the two or three peaks that make up the coast range around here…and then back? Of course. On the beach by the tidepools for birdie banzai* and long meditations on starfish and anemones? Sure. Sauntering down to visit neighbors? Can do, BooBoo**. Lounging in the cab of my truck—tongue lollygagging (or maybe just lollying) out the window—as we head down to the landfill with the community trash and recycling? No problema. Goober is game for anything.
And maybe the best thing about him is that he’s undemanding in the extreme. None of this ‘I wanna curl up on your lap while you read, even though I just got out of the Pacific and stink like a rotting sea lion carcass’ stuff. No ‘Here, let me deposit this lovely rodent, now deceased, in your hiking boot.’ All Goober needs from me is some fuzzling of his fur, a couple of good meals, fresh water, a hearty walk, and some of my endless supply of strange and unusual adventures on which he might accompany me. Goober thrives on variety.

All in all, I can’t imagine life without my faithful Goober. Stinky, tangled, occasionally dimwitted, wonderful Goober. My dog. My best friend.

*The art and science of chasing shore birds up and down the beach and, of course, never catching them. Thanks to C.A.B. for the term.

**See: Yogi, Mr. Ranger Sir, et al

Up Next:
Who Am I?

1 Comment

  1. daveb

    I’m glad you’re enjoying them! I think you’ll find the cast of characters in future stories very interesting.


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