Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Better Therapy

As far as my wife and I are concerned, 2010 was not a very good year. We had hoped it would be great, but life threw us more than one curve ball, and then the economy tanked, which made our jobs more stressful, etc, etc, etc.

By the end of the year, we both just needed to get away. So in late October I started looking for a year end get-a-way. Someplace we could go to forget about the maelstrom that swirled around us at home. The logical place is a small Mexican seaside town about 5 hours south of us on the Sea of Cortez. It is called Puerto Penasco on the map, but most folks around here refer to it as Rocky Point.

It is one of the better bargains in the area, since you can rent a rather large, custom home on the beach for the price of a round-trip airline ticket across the country. So last October, I booked 4 nights in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath house, that depending on the level of the tide, was usually only 50 feet from the ocean. We would be there from December 23rd through December 27th. Just me, the wife, and one of our dogs. Well, that changed, to two of our dogs.......and at the last minute we added a cat.

From Best Therapy

Two people, two dogs and a cat took off for Rocky Point on Thursday afternoon. By the time we finally made it to the outskirts of the big city, we were exhausted from the packing and the driving. We drove down to Mexico in silence as we each reflected on the year that we had just been through.

There are a lot of things going on in Mexico right now. Mostly, this whole drug war / drug cartel thing with all the murders and violence. This is more hype than anything else, with most of the violence centered around a few small border towns. But hype is hype, and along with the bad economy, the little seaside town of Rocky Point was really hurting. They depend on a lot of tourist dollars there and there aren’t many tourists these days. Those that don’t have jobs can’t go and those that do have jobs are afraid of roaming drug lords.

From Best Therapy

This all made for a very smooth and quick drive down to Mexico. Heavily traveled roads were deserted this time around and we made it to Rocky Point in under 5 hours.

We picked up the key to the house from the rental agency. The house is called Casa Zillori and it didn’t take us long to find it, since this wasn’t our first trip down to the Sea of Cortez. The two dogs we brought with us were our 8 year old 125lb Great Dane, Chella, and our 2 year old, 55lb terrier / beagle / boxer / retriever mix, named Maximus (Max for short). Chella had been down to Rocky Point on many occasions, but Max had never seen the ocean. We knew he liked water, but had no idea what he would think of endless sea and sand.

From Best Therapy

We unpacked the truck and took the dogs down to the beach. It was high tide and the surf was moderate. There was no one else on the beach for as far as the eye could see, so we let Max off leash to see what he would do.

To no one’s surprise he leaped forward and starting running down the shore as fast as he could, and we both assumed that would be the last we saw of him, possibly forever. But a funny thing happened. After running through the surf at full gallop, he stopped after about 100 yards and dove into the ocean. He then swam back to shore and ran back toward us at full speed, passed us, and continued running for another 100 yards in the opposite direction. All the while he was leaping through the surf and diving head first into the waves that dared to cross his path.

From Best Therapy

Max continued up and down the 200 yards of beach for about 20 minutes, non-stop. Max was in Heaven. It was a child’s first trip to Disneyland, your first solo car ride and first time making love all rolled into one. Sue and I just stood there with Chella as Max did his best to wear out that beach. The look of sheer joy on his face was mesmerizing.

So much so, that we forgot. We forgot all about our lives back in Phoenix, Arizona. We forgot all about 2010. The look on Max’s face as he plowed through the surf was more than worth the house rental, and the gas and the time to drive down to the ocean.

From Best Therapy

Most folks that are depressed, find comfort in a bottle, or at a therapist’s office or in a pharmasutical. But let me tell you. The best therapy ever devised is a dog on an empty beach. Max made us realize more than anything is short, dive in.

For more of my thoughts on what Max has taught us, click here.

(All pictures taken in Puerto Penasco, Mexico with a Panasonic Lumix Digital Camera, 12/23/2010 - 12/27/2010)