The Sand Between My Toes, Finally

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It happened, friends. It really and truly finally happened. After driving 760 miles for 13 hours (we made a few stops), spending a relaxing night at the hotel, and a taking a leisurely morning stroll through historic downtown Melbourne, Florida, it finally happened. I made it to the beach. I put my toes in the sand, surveyed the waves, breathed in the ocean breeze, and glanced back at my humans as if to say, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?”

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And then I headed straight for that water. For the first time in my life–after five years, eight months, and five days on this Earth–I was in the ocean. I think my human daddy was every bit as excited as I was.

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We walked and walked and walked along dog-friendly Canova Beach Park. My humans kept telling each other how wonderful it was that I liked the beach and how great it was that I wanted to be in the water and how happy they were that the waves didn’t bother me. Seriously, humans? I’m a Golden Retriever. Of course I like the beach. I was just wondering why it took you so long to take me there.

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And then, just like that, the humans told me that it was time to go. They were hungry and we needed to find a place to eat. What? They promised that we would return to the beach. My humans keep their promises, so I reluctantly agreed to join them for lunch.

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So we headed back to downtown Melbourne and discovered dog-friendly La Crepe de France.

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La Crepe is owned by Patrice Chaffaut from Brittany, France, and his lovely wife Celeste. Their sweet daughter Nadege was our waitress. You might be wondering why I look a little drunk in this photo.

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Well, the very creative menu offers suggested craft beer and wine pairings for each crepe. Yum! I also had a bit of turkey from lovely Celeste, so it’s possible that the tryptophan tired me out (although I’ve heard that’s actually a myth). Mommy had the Parisian–smoked turkey, sliced apple, glazed walnuts, brie, and honey on a traditional white crepe–with La Chouffe Strong Pale Ale from Belgium. Are you drooling yet? Daddy enjoyed La Tarragon–chunks of chicken breast and organic mushrooms in a creamy tarragon sauce served on an organic buckwheat crepe–with another Belgian beer called Duvel. I know you’re drooling now. There’s a good chance that my humans would get back in the car and drive 760 miles to see Patrice, Celeste, and Nadege at La Crepe de France.

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Thankfully my humans were able to roll themselves out of La Crepe so that we could go back to the beach.

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Now I totally understand why my mommy is so crazy about the ocean.

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Before we could leave the beach for the day, there was one last thing that we had to do. You might recall my dear, sweet Golden friend Bear. In August 2013, after Bear lost his battle to cancer, I wrote this about him in a post titled “Remembering Bear”:

Even though I live in South Louisiana and he lived in Southern California and more than 1,700 miles separated us and we never actually met, Bear was my friend . . . and he was special. Bear loved the beach. He called the ocean his, and it was. Last October, when Bear had tweeted several playful beach photos, I tweeted back that I loved the photos and I was with him in spirit, romping through the waves. I still love Bear’s response: “So glad! I’ll put you in my mind next time I go to the beach so you can come with me! BearHUG!!!”

This past May, Bear found out that he had cancer. His incredibly loving human mom and dad did everything they could to make him better. But perhaps more importantly they did everything they could to make Bear happy. Bear ate pizza. He swam in his ocean and he chased his tennis ball. Bear enjoyed dinner from Smashburger. He dressed up for opening day at Del Mar Racetrack. He visited his favorite park and he rolled in the grass. Saturday evening, my mommy read this tweet from Bear:

Woof bye anipals. I am going to see Fuzz & Oliver real soon. Thx for being my friends. #bearHUGs

My mommy hugged me, and she cried, and she cried, and she cried. And I knew that I had lost a friend. One day, Bear, I will visit the beach and I will put you in my mind so that you can come with me.

 I had finally made it to the beach, and my humans and I put Bear in our minds and our hearts, and he was there with us.

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It was quite a day, friends. But the best was yet to come. Stay tuned!