Dan Rattiner's Stories

From the Dan’s Archive: A Story from the Beach

Dogs and children and stuffed toys collide.

A day at the beach can be relaxing, but with children and pets in the mix a summery outing can quickly turn chaotic. In this story from the September 1, 1977 issue of The East Hampton Summer Sun, Dan recounts a fateful encounter between a dog, two children and a stuffed bunny rabbit while playing on the beach.

It was a beautiful beach day. Down the way, sitting on a blanket, was a pretty blonde woman with two children. The little girl was about six, the boy about three. The boy played happily in the sand, sometimes digging a hole, sometimes cuddling a large, stuffed bunny pillow that had been brought for the occasion.

After awhile, a large Labrador retriever appeared from over the dune. The children expressed delight at seeing such a beautiful sleek dog and the Lab obliged the children by walking happily over and wagging his tail. He allowed himself to be patted.

But then the dog saw the bunny pillow. With one swift motion, ho picked it up and trotted off with it in his mouth. About thirty feet away, he stopped and looked lo see the confusion that he had created. The grown woman was on her feet, the girl was shouting, and the little boy was crying, “the dog took my bunny rabbit — the dog took my bunny rabbit.”

The dog simply wagged his tail. He thought it was a great game. He held the bunny rabbit gently in his mouth.

The blonde woman put the older girl in charge of the younger boy and proceeded to walk slowly after the Lab.

“Here, boy,” she said. “Here, boy.”

But the dog did not respond. He trotted off another ten feet and stopped.

“Come on, boy,” she said. “Come on. Over here. Come over here.”

This continued on for quite some time.

The woman tried all sorts of things to get the dog to come back. She tried calling a variety of names, such as Rover, King. Fred. Duke, Duchess, etc., but the dog would have none of it.

She tried running straight at the dog. but the dog would gracefully sidestep her and trot away. She tried throwing small rocks at the dog. But she missed.

She even tried sitting down, with the hopes that the dog would come to her. But this didn’t work either.

I was just about to get up to help when the woman hit upon the one thing that got her what she wanted.

She pointed an index finger at the dog.

“Bad,” she said. “Bad

A mournful expression came over the dog’a face.

“Bad dog. Shame. Shame on you for being such a bad dog. Bad.”

Still pointing, she walked forcefully over to the dog with long steps. The dog dropped the bonny rabbit just as she arrived. He was totally repentant.

The woman examined the bunny rabbit and found it unharmed.

“Good dog.” she said. “That’s a good dog.”

She patted him.

And they lived happily ever after. At least for the rest of the afternoon.

Read more Throwback Thursday. 

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