A dog on wheels in Cayucos

December 9, 2020

Dell Franklin and Wilbur

Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin.


I had just pulled up to the edge of the off-the-beaten-track 24th Street lot and discovered what appeared to be a Corgi dog with wheels supporting its lame back legs. The dog was sitting still on the sand before its master, facing the ocean, sort of stalling about moving on down to the shore. The man patiently waited for the dog to get going. Eventually it moved slowly, like a turtle toward the shore, on a cold gray blustery afternoon around 1:30. Front paws dragging the wheels.

The Corgi then veered to the right, toward what seemed to be a group of adults and children who were tossing balls to medium-sized mutts that chased them along the shore. The Corgi picked up speed and scooted along as its master looked on from a short distance. The Corgi entered the group and immediately a lady began petting the dog, and then knelt down to do so.

I don’t recall ever seeing anybody in over 30 years on this beach kneel down to pet a dog. They usually stand and bend down, but now the children were on their knees hugging the dog as the master continued to stand watching in only a sleeveless T-shirt and shorts.

Everybody else on the beach was bundled up, with hoods covering ears.

The Corgi moved toward a man in the group who had not yet petted it, and he allowed himself a slight pet while the other dogs sniffed it, trying to penetrate the wheels. Finally the man bent down and again the kids engulfed the Corgi for a mini love-in while I turned on a Keith Jarrett disc on my radio.

Eventually, the dog turned its body around and headed toward its master, moving very, very slowly. They headed north at a slow pace when the Corgi suddenly stopped and watched him. He turned and said something and the Corgi began moving, pulling the wheels. Another couple stopped to kneel and engulf the dog while the master looked on.

When they were finished, the Corgi balked as the master moved on. He kept walking at a very slow pace, then stopped around 40 yards away and looked back, but the Corgi still had not moved. He returned to the Corgi, seemed to be having a little discussion with it, and then started off again and the Corgi followed, picking up the pace.

Hundreds of yards away, toward the cape along Studio Drive, the man and his Corgi arrived at another cluster of people and dogs that were chasing balls flipped by a man. The Corgi suddenly took off after the dogs, accelerating at its highest speed, chasing the dogs. This went on for a few more chases while the master talked to the owners of the ball-chasing dogs.

Keith Jarrett was sounding so good.

After the chases ended, everybody in the group knelt down to hug the Corgi and then man and his dog-on-wheels started back. He was patient, moving slowly, stopping to look back, waiting, and the dog moved along at its turtle pace. As they neared the beach area adjacent the lot, the man quickened his pace and the Corgi sped up.

As they headed up to the lot, the Corgi ceased following the man and instead veered  away and sped at its quickest pace toward the first group of people and dogs that congregated around him.

The master quickly walked over and stopped the dog and turned his body toward the lot. Then he removed its harness and wheels. The Corgi appeared secure and content as its master started up the slope of sand toward the lot, carrying the harness and wheels. He came right past the lunch bench to the side of the pickup beside my car and I rolled down my window and said, “That’s a great thing you’re doing with your dog.”

“Thank you,” he said. He smiled, a man with a patchy gray beard, maybe 50.

“And that’s quite a dog. It’s a Corgi, right?”

“She’s a Corgi. She’s eleven years old.”

“I’ve always wanted a Corgi if I couldn’t have a Lab,” I said. “They’re such characters.”

“They are. I’ve had German Shepards, too, but people are always scared of them.”

He started back toward the beach after placing the harness and wheels in the bed of the truck. The Corgi lay on its front paws, utterly still, waiting patiently, quietly. When the man reached the dog, he picked it up in his arms as he would a small child and carried it along the sand. He stopped by my window. The Corgi was serene as he held her before me within petting distance. I ruffled her ears and scratched her chest. She took it all in, like a celebrity long used to heightened attention and possibly adulation: Appreciative, but certainly not overwhelmed.

“This is Maurwina,” he said.

“I see she loves to socialize,” I said.

“She sure does.”

“It’s good for her. It’s their social hour. My dog’s the same way. He’s fourteen, a chocolate Lab. He struggles, but he’s happy, and as long as they’re not miserable, you keep them going.”

“When they’re miserable, it’s time to take ’em to the vet.”

We talked about dogs, the dogs we’d had in the past. He said he’d always had dogs. I knew I could never do what he was doing, not with a big dog like mine. Not with any of my dogs that I’ve loved in a manner I could not love anything or anybody else. But I found this man and his dog heroic.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Never had a Dog lie to me, steal from me, cheat on me, bitch at me or tell me to get f—ked. Always waiting at the door when I get home full of love.

Thanks for the article. These acts of compassion from people to animal people are a sign we are a divine being. If only we could have something unite earth in such a way, as Reagan figuratively said, if they came to visit us, some outside race from far away, we’d realize we are One planet, one species, one earth. Let us expand this compassion during these trying times. More reason to contemplate ethical harvesting of food, animals included. Industrial ag is sad, yet brilliant. It just needs spiritual ethics. Cows are the same as dogs, so are pigs, birds etc, if you grew up on a ranch, as I did, I learned. Fish too, have sociology, feelings, behavior.

The Facebook page “Toro Creek Dog Beach” has lots of dogs on wheels, just recently a Pug named George came up to say hello to me. A very happy dog! People could learn a lot from dogs. No strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet.

I hope someone will take the time to do that for me when my wheels are gone and I lay immobilized in bed. Alas, I doubt it, and I probably deserve the inattention—I’m not patient and I often pass premature judgement on those around me. But, not a dog. They just want to love or be loved. They deserve every single caring gesture we can generate towards them.

Agreed, alot to admire from our earthly animal family.