|"Let's go for a ride, and I'll show you all the cool stuff to do around here"|
You're probably wondering how a day with Ray has anything to do with island life. Well, life on this island is very much about dogs. I like to think of it as a dog friendly island, for friendly dogs. It's the main reason I started coming to St. George Island years ago.
I don't know how it got to be this way, but dogs are not only welcome in most of the rental houses on the island, but the beach is their playground. And the stores, restaurants, bars, and special events, have an open door policy for your canine companion. So, if you're not really a dog person, you might find the atmosphere on the island a little overwhelming . As you can imagine, there's dogs everywhere!
Ray is a native of the island. Being part of a very large family, his future wasn't looking real bright. So he came to live with me, and now, we enjoy life on the island together.
Ray has the gift of happiness. It's just a part of who he is every day. He never gets bored. Rain or shine, Ray sees every day on the island as a good day.
He's more than happy to entertain himself when I have chores to do. Since it's time for the monarchs to migrate again, chasing butterflies is always a fun thing to do.
A day with Ray is always fun. Riding in the car is always a good thing to do, as far as he's concerned. Who knows where we might be going. The bank has treats, the stores have treats, and there's a store in Apalachicola, Petunia's, that has nothing but treats. Ray goes in and shops for toys, bones, cookies, and checks out the fashion department, in hopes that some of what he picks out, gets to go home with him. And after shopping, maybe, it's off to the beach. That's the best destination of all.
The beach is the social hot spot for dogs. When we go, it's hard to get him to leave. There's old friends to meet up with and plenty of new friends to be made.
Some mornings are perfect for taking a ride on the bicycle while Ray jogs along side, stopping here and there for a smell that gets his attention. And it's a great way to see what's going on in the neighborhood. Of course, we'll be going by some water somewhere for him to take a swim and cool off.
Then there's boat rides. Big boats, little boats, fast boats, slow boats. Ray learned to kayak at a very young age. And even though the hole seems a little smaller these days, he always manages to squeeze in. But an invitation to ride in a bigger boat is never refused.
Spending the day with Ray makes me smile. People may think there's not a whole lot to do on the island. But to a dog, there's no better place to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. So, just let your dog lead the way. They'll show you all the fun things to do, and you too will have a smile on your face every day you're here.
They can show how much fun it is doing "nothing". And you'll see, it's the little pleasures on the island that will make you happy.
Taking Ray for a walk at the estuary is wonderful. There's herons that'll stand in the shallows, teasing the dogs that think they can catch them. Flying just out of reach, waiting for the next chase. Then as the day heats up, he'll go out in the bay for a swim, watch the mullet jump, and check the crab traps. Then take a walk down the trails and check for critters that are hiding in the brush. Or by chance, we might see a bald eagle, sitting in a dead tree.
So if you come to the island, and you find yourself having a boring day, find someone with a "Ray", and the boredom will end.
Any dog on St. George Island can show you the finer points of "island life". The simple things are the most fun. And we like to keep things simple here.