Animal Writes
From 2 February 2003 Issue

Dog Beach
By Michelle Rivera - [email protected] 

Here in Jupiter, Florida, there is a beautiful beach. A four-mile section of this beach was set aside many, many years ago as "Dog Beach." Here, well-behaved dogs may come and play off leash and it is the only beach of it's kind for miles around. My dog has enjoyed this beach tremendously over the past ten years. I enjoy watching him enjoy!

Being in Florida, there are a lot of people we affectionately call "Snow Birds" who live in New York, New Jersey, Michigan and elsewhere six months out of the year and live here the other (coldest) six months. It is during those six months that they are here that the fight begins. Every year, they go to the town council to try to prohibit dogs from going to the beach. Every year, the town council denies their request. A group called "The Friends of Jupiter Beach" are behind the efforts to keep the beach open to dogs. They provide wooden stations with doggy bags, they hold beach clean-ups every first Saturday and they generally fight efforts by Snowbirds to restrict the beach. This fight has been going on for years. There have been times during the years that I worked on the side of the "dog people" and through those efforts I met a wonderful woman, the force behind the effort to keep the beach dog friendly and the founder of Friends of Jupiter Beach, Anita Lankler. I would run into her from time to time here and there and she would always ask me to attend one of the beach clean-ups and the breakfast party that followed. I sent checks and received their newsletters but for years, I never could make the time to go. But my new year's resolution for 2003 was to become involved in the monthly beach clean-ups and become more helpful to keep the beach dog-safe. So this Saturday, I went. I couldn't wait to see Anita and tell her that I finally made it after all this time.

Anita died ten days ago. I never got to tell her that I was coming. All these years I kept putting it off and when I finally got there it was too late to work side by side with this wonderful lady. She never knew how much of a mentor, friend and inspiration she was to me all these years. She fought battle after battle for the dogs and their beach but she couldn't win the battle with cancer. There is a lesson here. Take it to heart.

And this much I know. If there are no dogs allowed in heaven, then the powers that be in heaven are in for one big fight, because if it is up to Anita, she will open heavens' doors to friendly dogs and it will be a better place for it.

Go on to Two Reasons to Celebrate the Great American Meatout By Robert Cohen
Return to 2 February 2003 Issue
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