Dozens and Dragons

Dead Dog Beach

a mini-setting for the owners of dead pets


Dead Dog Beach is the unofficial but universally acknowledged name for the isolated stretch of rocky cliffside beach at the south end of Blue Harbor, just past Point Kel. Practically inaccessible from the popular sandy beaches north of the point, Dead Dog Beach can only really be reached from Lee Luthier’s Pet Mortuary atop Point Kel.

Nearly everybody in Blue Harbor visits Lee’s at some point. At least once. Next to the funeral home is a wide grassy hilltop pet cemetery, at the far end of which is a narrow switchback footpath that winds carefully down the steep cliffside to Dead Dog Beach.

The trail is maintained by Lee himself, who made the first of what would become many treks down to the beach after the passing of a beloved dog whose owners didn’t want to take possession of its remains. (Which is a perfectly fine decision, by the way. The possession and disposal of the remains of a loved one can be a daunting and even overwhelming responsibility.) Since then, the ashes and remains of countless pets and animals have been scattered on the rocky shores of Dead Dog Beach.

Not all—few in fact—of the remains that end up on the beach are of abandoned or neglected pets. Far from it. For many residents of Blue Harbor, Dead Dog Beach is the preferred final resting place for their beloved pet. It is a widely known secret that twice each month on the night of the king tide, when the water recedes, the ghosts of all of the permanent residents of Dead Dog Beach frolic and cavort and run and play on the rocky beach and in the shallow waters.

Those who question the phenomenon mostly assume it is due to some magical quality inherent to the beach, to the celestial bodies, and perhaps to Lee Luthier himself. But why look a gift horse in the mouth, as it were? (There are in fact at least three horses who join the fortnightly incorporeal events.) Some point to the more dormant, restful nature of those buried in the cemetery on the cliff up above, and suggest that it must be the kind-hearted sea who relents and releases the pets to romp and play, and it is the cold-hearted earth who jealously guards that which is given over to him.

But even the most curious minds are ultimately content to be thankful for the promise of being reunited with their loved ones for a short time.

And none appear more thankful than the pets themselves.

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