Feliz Navidad and Adieu Santa Monica

Oh yes! That’s right, the title of this blog has three languages (this fact has no impact on this post)! So Tuesday (day four of our trip) was Christmas morning and the day we were to leave Santa Monica. So I “had” to get up early and go take my last morning walk to the beach. In theory this morning did not have much to blog about. I brought the tilt-shift lens from Lens Pro To go and found out that my Polaroid 250 Land Camera stopped working (so sad, more on that in later post). But on the way home I did meet an interesting “individual”.
When I got near the beach the usual ocean/cannabis scent hit my nostrils informing me I had arrived at my destination (I’m sure it was medicinal..;)). I expected the beach to be deserted but I did not really think about the fact that this was a day off for people and before all the holiday merriment, the die-hard surfers would be out. Ironically though, what caught my attention that morning was not the dozens of surfers but the pelicans…yep pelicans. No offense to surfers but these birds are pretty cool. In the morning they glide inches over the water…fishing maybe?…I don’t know. I am not sure I captured on my camera what I saw though I did try. Christmas morning in Santa Monica was grey and overcast but since grey is a preferred color of mine that was okay. And let me tell you the beach sand is foot-numbing in December…at least first thing in the morning it is.
After about an hour of just being at the beach I started to head back to finish up packing and get back on the road with Doris to continue on our adventure. As I was crossing Neilson Way “someone” caught my attention whiled carrying a little brown bag…in their mouth. This someone was a therapy dog named Heavenly who was out on a walk with his person, named Aliene, to help collect funds for the SAR Dog Foundation. Not only did I get a kiss from Heavenly, I also got a video recording one of his speaking skills. Regarding the foundation, rather than have me paraphrase in some horrific way what they (SAR Dog Foundation) do let me use a quote from their site:
“Search and Rescue workers are your neighbors, your friends and strangers. On a moment’s notice they disrupt their lives and many times put themselves in harm’s way.
All of them are volunteers. The government does not pay them or supply the dogs that have saved lives or brought closure to many families.
The Search and Rescue Dog Foundation was established by Sarah Atlas in 2005 to assist volunteer K-9 handlers in the replacement of their dogs that are no longer able to perform search work.
Sarah, a K-9 handler herself, was inspired to start the foundation when over 700 elementary school children, parents and other caring citizens who raised money to replace her dog Anna. Her k-9 partner became ill and was unable to continue her work after serving at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks.”

I always assumed that dogs used for such missions were police dogs. I think it is great that people who could be your neighbor take their time and risk themselves and their canines for such a great reason.

This was a great start to a “cold” California Christmas day.


I was being watched while photographing the VW bus.













4 thoughts on “Feliz Navidad and Adieu Santa Monica

  1. Beautiful pictures. When I was reading the post about the service dogs I was remembering finals at my school. They brought in two service dogs that people could pet for “therapy”. It sure helped me a lot. There is just something about dogs that are so relaxing.

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