Dog owner Janene Ritchie has found an innovative way to keep her English bulldog cool in the summer heat: she takes her skim-boarding. The breed can be prone to overheating, said Ritchie, and when she saw YouTube videos of other bulldogs taking to the board, it gave her the idea to try it with her pooch Karma.
"We didn't really have to teach her how to do it, we just threw it and she jumped on it," said Ritchie, who added that it seems to be a compulsion particular to the breed. "They're good on skim-boards and skateboards - she's not as good on the skateboard, that's something that needs a little practice."
Perhaps the most famous of the YouTube board-riding dog set is Tillman, a dog who skimboards, skateboards (in skate parks as well as on the street) and surfs.
However Karma is content with being primarily a one-sport dog for the time being. Ritchie shares ownership of two-and-a-half-year-old Karma with her ex-partner, and they acquired the dog from a breeder on the mainland. She had originally been adopted out to a couple that wanted a bulldog, but soon realized they didn't want the responsibility of a puppy. It felt like fate when she was returned to the breeder and came up again for adoption, so the name 'Karma' seemed fitting.
The ideal conditions for skim-boarding are at low tide, when a thin covering of water remains on the beach in long shallow pools.
Ritchie tosses the board, much like a low frisbee, so it skims the water's surface. Karma then races after the board and with a leap and a great splash, is on it with all four legs, riding it as far as it will go. She shifts her weight to balance as she glides, muscles working to keep her upright.
"The other skimboarders come down here and are all like, 'Look at how good I am,' and then they see her and they're like, 'Oh,'" said Ritchie with a laugh, as she tosses the plywood skimboard for Karma. "She can do this for hours."
Karma has skimboarded in Tofino, but the best spot is Parks-ville, because the tidepools are especially long, said Ritchie.
"She's the best dog on the planet, honestly, just the best companion ever," said Ritchie, watching her glide gracefully across a tidepool.
[Krista Bryce, Daily News] / Karma, a two-and-a-half-year-old English bulldog, gets her exercise skim boarding at Departure Bay Beach with owner Janene Ritchie.;
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