If you remember the first time you saw the ocean, you probably felt blown away by the majesty of such an enormous piece of nature.
Now, put yourself in the paws of a German Shepherd named Herschel and imagine how excited you’d be.
Herschel got to see the ocean for the very first time because of a program called Dog’s Day Out.
Dog’s Day Out is a program started by Rocky Kanaka and designed to give dogs the best day they’ve ever had — all while raising awareness to locals who might be interested in giving them a forever home.
It was a big week for Herschel, who first got to see (and play in) snow for the first time ever. After that, he gave hugs to strangers along a boardwalk. At that point, offers to adopt the homeless pup were pouring in from all corners. Once he was matched to a permanent home, Herschel was ready to hit the road … with a special stop along the way.
That’s right, this once-homeless dog got to stop and frisk in the Pacific Ocean on his way to his new family.
And no one has ever deserved it as much as Herschel does.
“He’s been on this earth for five years, and most of that time in a backyard and neglected,” said Kanaka. “And what breaks my heart is when you look closely, his teeth are whittled down, likely from chewing on his own chain to try to break free.”
Unfortunately, that wasn’t all that the poor German Shepherd suffered.
“After being abandoned and returned to the shelter not once but twice, he was likely to be one of the dogs that never made it out of the shelter again,” said Kanaka.
A non-profit called Found Animals Adopt & Shop got wind of the poor pup and stepped in to help. They managed to find a family that wanted to adopt him. But they also thought that Herschel deserved a really, really fun day out, full of all the treats, love, and excitement that he’d never had before.
And that was exactly what Kanaka provided.
Herschel got to chow down on his first burrito and enjoy a specially-made “puppicino.” But more than anything, he was lavished with love and attention and knew that he was safe.
But the biggest surprise came with Herschel’s first sight of the ocean. It must have been an amazing thing to see after years chained in a small yard: There, he had an enormous expanse of water and a huge beach for running and playing.
It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for a visit to the beach.
The moment Herschel caught a glimpse of the waves, he began to leap and howl with excitement, pulling at his leash. He even hopped up on a wall so he could see better. He absolutely couldn’t wait to enjoy the beach and get up close to the waves.
And he was so wound up, he couldn’t calm down.
Kanaka tried to ease Herschel into the experience, not wanting to overwhelm him.
“It’s interesting, ‘cause sometimes your first reaction is to correct a dog and tell them to stop barking, but barking is a good thing,” said Kanaka. “It’s not a bad thing if it’s done at the right time. And getting to see the ocean for the first time — him barking, it’d be like you jumping up and down … in just raw excitement.”
When he got into the water, Herschel couldn’t wait to run. He dove right in, racing after the waves and biting at the surf. He was clearly having the time of his life.
After that, the German Shepherd was on his way to meet his new owner, Kim. He has a forever home at last, with enough love and attention to last a lifetime.
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