Life’s a beach for Archie


Life in Zihuatanejo is sweet. Especially in the evenings, when the workday is done, and we all make a beeline for the beach.

The days here are oven-like. The temperature usually pushes well into the 90s, but the humidity and thick, motionless air make it feel more like 120°. For us it’s too hot to go to the beach until the sun begins to set. So, serenaded by the steady hum of electric fans, we work during the hottest part of the day, with intermittent breaks to study with Scout’s Spanish tutor, sweat our way through the mercado, or pop into the deliciously air-conditioned supermarket down the street.

After dinner, when the temperature finally begins to drop, Archie knows the highlight of his day is imminent. The playa! He parks himself against the front door and doesn’t twitch until one of us touches a towel or reaches for a swimsuit. Then he explodes and dances around our feet, until we’re all out the door. Can you imagine what would happen if I picked up a towel and just folded it, with no intention of going out? I think the poor dog would have an aneurysm.


“Don’t wanna miss it, don’t wanna miss it, don’t wanna miss it, don’t wanna miss it, don’t wanna miss it...”

The beach (Playa La Ropa) is an easy 8-minute drive from our house. One roundabout, no traffic lights. As soon as we circle the roundabout, Archie begins to fidget in my lap. A minute later, when he spots the ocean, he breaks out in desperate, high-pitched whines. My boy is excited! I wrap the leash around my fist, so he can’t jump put the window.

We arrive and pull right up to the entrance. It’s low-season, so other cars are scarce. We can park wherever we want. By this time, Archie is frantic. He’s practically crying. Mark, Scout and I tear off our shoes, grab our beach bags and boogie boards, take Archie’s Official Stick out of the kryptonite-lined glove box, and—with Archie straining at the other end of the leash—march past the no-dogs sign and toward the sand.

After absorbing the blistering sun all day, the ocean is hot, between 85° and 90°.  It’s practically bubbling. We spend a couple hours swimming, body surfing, playing with the little fish that nibble our toes, watching pelicans plunge into the ocean in pursuit of dinner, and hurling sticks for Archie until he can’t run anymore. It’s fantastic, every single time. In just a few weeks, Scout’s become an adept ocean swimmer, fearless in the face of big waves.

Usually the whole family goes, but once in a while Mark and Scout stay home. Those nights Archie and I walk the length of the beach and back again, chasing his stick (him) and scanning the sand for interesting dead things (both of us). We’ve found all kinds of things, including a beautiful still-living guineafowl pufferfish.

I suspect Archie’s cancer has spread to his lungs. He doesn’t have the stamina he used to. Two years ago in Italy, when we camped on the shore of Lake Como, we played fetch in the lake for hours, until I finally got bored and made him stop. These days he can only go for about 30 minutes before demanding a break. He tires quickly, and his lungs make a rasping sound when he breathes.

But that doesn’t matter. He’s loving life. And as long as he’s got the energy, you’ll find us at the beach at sunset.





{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim Norris May 26, 2014 at 9:35 am

Pure joy for all! The best gift you could give him and you.


2 Renee May 26, 2014 at 11:49 am

Thanks, and you’re right. Creating happy memories is a gift for us too.


3 Tracey May 26, 2014 at 11:13 am

Awww Renee, Archie is so sweet. He reminds me of our beloved red Australian Cattle dog, Kiwi. We lost her in 2012 and I miss her so much. She loved to fetch ball, she was insane to chase ball! I am glad both Archie and your family is enjoying this beach time together.


4 Renee May 26, 2014 at 11:47 am

Thank you, Tracey. Cattle dogs are wonderful. I’m sorry Kiwi is gone…


5 Alex May 26, 2014 at 11:35 am

With the life goal of being happy, period, it is lovely to see how much joy this little guy has given you and how happy it makes you to return the favor. Isn’t life awesome?


6 Renee May 26, 2014 at 11:46 am

Indeed it is, Alex. Archie has expanded our hearts, and I hope we’ve shown him a good time. He’s spent his life chasing balls, snuggling under covers with his family, and (since we work from home) being spoiled rotten 24/7. He’s never known abuse, loneliness, fear, or abandonment. Win win.


7 Tiffany May 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm

What lovely pictures of Archie on the beach. Sounds like the beach town has been good for all of you.

Keep fetching those sticks and catching those pesky crabs and rats Archie!


8 Renee May 26, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Cheers, Tiffany!


9 Bill & Chyra May 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Glad to see y’all enjoying the beach! Y’all all deserve these memories! Enjoy ’till his time runs out! Love & miss y’all bunches!


10 Ingrid May 26, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Beautiful photos, lovely Archie, I’m so glad he is happy.


11 Karen May 26, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Same sentiments. Happy for all 4 of you, Renee. And miss you.


12 Renee May 29, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Thanks, Karen. I can’t believe you’re back in BC! Looking forward to seeing pics from PR. 🙂


13 Renee May 29, 2014 at 7:40 pm

THanks, Ingrid.


14 Molly May 27, 2014 at 11:21 am

Great pics, and never saw a puffer fish that I can remember when we were in Mexico, very cool. Sad he is declining, but he is so lucky as well.

Our Rat Terrier Buster will be getting there soon, he is 14 years and only issue is some loss of eyesight but we have a very mellow, easy life at the moment since I deal with chronic fatigue, I think that helps.


15 Renee May 29, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Thanks, Molly. It’s so sad when the end is near. All we can do is appreciate our pups one day at a time. Belly scratches to Buster…


16 Cathryn Haynes May 29, 2014 at 11:52 am

Hope you have the opportunity to meet some of the locals! Great people! I lived there in the late 80’s and did travel there often until 2005 — have lots of friends and acquaintances who live there full time. Love what you are doing for Archie! Can I be your next pet???? 🙂


17 Renee May 29, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Ha, thanks Cathryn. Yes we are meeting people. Scout has decided to spend the last month of the school year in the high-school down the street, so she’ll be making friends.


18 Jen May 29, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I’ve got goose bumps, and a lump in my throat ( :


19 Renee May 29, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Thanks, Jenny. How’s life in Portugal?


20 Linda fox May 29, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Great pics and well written article. Keep up the good work and sorry you are finding it so sweltering.


21 Renee May 29, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Linda, we love it here! We’re just doing our best to match our activities to the right part of the day, heat-wise. Mornings and evenings at the beach are perfect. If it were TOO easy to spend all day there, we’d probably turn into beach bums. 😉


22 Jackie Trueblood May 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Renee, I thought no one could love the beach more than I do. Now, I think I know someone who does–your Archie! I’m so happy for all of you that you can spend this time together in his favorite place. My heart goes out to you as you deal with his cancer. We lost our beloved Archie and Corky to liver cancer. It was indeed difficult!


23 Teresa Jasper May 29, 2014 at 7:22 pm

So glad Archie is happy and enjoying life. Bless you all. I rescued a little dog in dire need today and took her to Dr. Martinez at Pet Place, Ajijic, where you took Sophie … was the right choice. Mia – as we named her – will stay there while healing….in good hands. We will visit her each day until we bring her home. I’m praying for a miracle for your Archie!


24 Renee May 29, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Thanks, Teresa. I’m so glad you’ve rescued Mia! Where did you find her? Pet Place is great and they will take super care of her. Oh, this makes me miss Sophie though. We did the right thing rehoming her, but I think about her all the time.

Thanks for keeping Archie in your thoughts. We’re just taking things one day at a time. I love him so much!

Please keep me updated on Mia. I’d love to see a photo. Hugs to you for saving a dog. 🙂


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