Surf Doggy

By Sandra Zunino

While some dogs are content to play fetch or even go for the occasional swim, Buddy, a purebred Bijon Frise from Stevensville, prefers to hang 20 with his owner on his surfboard.

Kathleen “Katie” Baker adopted Buddy about two years ago from a schoolteacher in Chestertown. “She couldn’t find a place to live that accepted dogs, so she had to put him up for adoption.” Only four months old when he came to Katie, Buddy was completely untrained.

Katie began housebreaking and training him right away. Having grown up on a farm and maintaining pets throughout her life, she was able to connect with the Bijon’s willing tendencies. “They are wonderful pets and are very devoted to their owners,” says Katie. “He brings great joy into my life.”

Although Katie had never had a Bijon Frise before, she had researched the expensive breed’s characteristics and scouted the local papers for a while seeking a dog she could afford. Tiny, white fluffy pups, the Bijon’s are noted for intelligence, affection and happy temperament. They are easily trainable and enjoy being around people.

Buddy not only gets along well with Katie’s two cats, Boo Boo and Nacho, he’s a favorite among the residents and students at the Chesterwye Center, Inc., where Katie works, often with Buddy at her side. “He is extremely calm and friendly,” says Katie. “They just love him.”

While Bijon’s are known for their hypoallergenic coats, making them popular pets for allergy sufferers, they are not renowned for their love of water, making Buddy all the more unique. “I live on Kent Island on the water, so I would take him out for walks and he would play in the water,” says Katie, “so one day I brought a surfboard out and he jumped on.”

Almost immediately, the 24-pound canine gravitated to the surfboard. “He will jump off the surfboard, swim around in the water and then jump back on the board,” says Katie. “He’ll stay on the board until we come in.”

Katie holds the board steady so Buddy can climb on, but says he will sit on the board without assistance. “People come to watch him,” says Katie. ”They will drive by and turn around just to watch. Often people will come down to the beach and ask if they can take pictures.”

Katie says spectators often ask her if she is sure Buddy is not a Labrador. “Little dogs generally don’t go in the water,” she says.

According to Katie, her and Buddy’s next adventure will be kayaking. “I have a kayak, but we haven’t used it yet,” she says. “He will probably be sitting in either my lap or the supply spot.”

Katie says if Buddy does take to kayaking, she will put a floatation device on him to keep him safe.

While Buddy’s favorite surfing hangout is the beach at Kent Island Estates, he also enjoys going for a walk at the Kent Island Dog Park and soon, he will have a date with his new girlfriend. Already bred once, Buddy has sired four puppies that were homed to family and friends last spring. “I promised him last year he would have a date for Valentine’s Day,” Katie laughs. “In six months we will try to breed him again.”