I was recently reminiscing about what a great companion my dog, Griff, was. That does not mean he never created any anxiety in me.
We used to live on the Oxnard, California, Marina. We had a deck and a dock. In the mornings we would get in my rowboat, The Liberty Belle, which I had bought on the Fourth of July, and go for a morning's adventure.
I would row to the end of the channel, Griff sitting ahead of me, and beach the boat near the sand dunes. Griff would leap out and take his morning constitutional in the dunes, chasing rabbits, or whatever he did to amuse himself. Soon he would return, get in the boat and I would row home. Usually.
Sometimes however he would stay longer than I cared to idle at the shore. I would call and whistle, and if he wanted to, he would come. I remember one time he did not return at my call. I waited and waited and no Griff. Then I felt terrible. I had to row home without him. I worried about what he would do when he returned and found no boat. He would feel terrible, but not as terrible as I.
As soon as I got home I rushed to the car and drove to the sand dunes. I found him looking lost. He was glad to see me. I guess he forgave me, for we went rowing on other days.
But the most dramatic scare he gave me was the time he found a baby hatchling sea gull in the shallows close to shore. Being a bird dog, he retrieved it, and it died. Horrors. The mother sea gull was distraut, and what followed was like a scene from Hitchcock's Birds. The mother sea gull whirled around over our heads. She was joined by other wildly squawking gulls. They lined the channel, watching us and following our progress. They stayed high on the buildings lining the waterway, scolding. They followed us all the way to our dock.
I was glad to tie up the boat and retreat inside. It was days before I ventured out in the row boat again.