“Vamos a la playa!” For a dog named Mia, these are the magic words telling her it’s time to hit the surf. Tail wagging madly, Mia leaps into the car, and yelps for her dad, Juan Medina, to hurry up and drive her.
Like most dogs, Mia loves the beach she can chase seagulls, jump through waves and race across the sand to fetch sticks. But Mia’s also got an unusual skill she can ride a longboard like Kelly Slater can surf the Banzai pipeline.
Before Medina adopted Mia, the border collie cross was a stray at the RSPCA in Southport, Queensland, in Australia. When Mia had been brought into the shelter, she wore a collar and had already been spayed, which led the shelter workers to believe Mia previously had a family. However, Mia wasn’t microchipped or registered, so the RSPCA couldn’t locate her original family. Mia stayed in the shelter for over three months.
Medina is originally from Venezuela, but he’s lived on the Gold Coast of Australia for eight years. When he visited his local RSPCA looking for a dog, he knew he wanted an active one, so he was initially unsure if Mia was right for him. “She was quiet and shy,” Medina tells The Dodo, “probably because she was in the shelter with other dogs, and she lost her first family.”
After taking Mia and several other dogs for a walk at the RSPCA, Medina went home. But he couldn’t stop thinking about Mia. “There was a connection with her,” he explains. “Two days later, I went back to see if she was still there.”
She was, and without another moment of hesitation, Medina adopted her. Little did Medina know, this shy shelter dog would come to love the same things he did.
Medina is a photographer by trade, but when he’s not working, he’s catching waves at his local beach. He’d always take Mia to the beach with him, but he started to feel bad when he left her on his beach towel to surf. So he decided to try something.
“One day waves were pretty small, so I took my longboard to the beach,” Media says. “Mia always waits for me on the shore sitting in a towel while I’m surfing, so I called her and she came and I put her on the longboard. She was scared the first time. I pushed her in a few waves but she fell off.”
Both Mia and Medina didn’t give up. Medina put a life jacket on Mia, and this did the trick. After a few more tries, Mia lost her fear and managed to stay on the board with Medina. She clearly loved it! “She has very wide eyes when she surfs,” says Medina. “That’s the way she looks when she’s excited.”
“Now when I take the longboard and her life jacket to go to the beach she goes crazy,” Medina says. “She loves the water and loves swimming, and she enjoys being with me all the time.”
Then Mia did another amazing thing she taught herself to body surf without the longboard.
“She does this all on her own,” Medina explains. “I throw a stick into the ocean, and she goes after it, and catches a wave back to shore. But she’s a smart dog she also understands both English and Spanish.”
“I can’t imagine my life without Mia,” says Medina. “She brings happiness and fun to my life, someone to care about it. And I just want to give her love and a happy life. She is the best dog ever.”
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