The World of Working Dogs: Chia the Surfing Dog
“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”
–William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Working dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and they also come with different jobs. Some jobs are taught, and some dogs trailblaze their own positions in the world of working dogs.
Meet Chia, lovingly known as the “Mexican Ewok”, who also has ancestral ties to the “Brug” breed (Brussels Griffon + Pug).
Chia is a rescue Brug who is about four years old. She came to Risa Mara Machuca and her partner Diego in February 2020, when they saw someone was giving her away on Facebook. Chia now lives and works with her mom and dad in Sayulita, a little surf town on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Chia’s surfing gift came naturally to her when her mama Risa showed her a surfboard. Standing in the shallow water of the ocean, Risa held her surfboard steady and patted the top of the board. Chia hopped on immediately with no fear of the water. She naturally took her spot at the front of Risa’s board and hung ten off the nose as her mom began surfing small waves. You can see the confidence in Chia when watching the videos on her Instagram page @chiasurf. If you scroll all the way to the beginning of her page, you’ll see videos of Chia’s very first waves! She knew exactly what to do with her little body from the start.
Soon after Chia was adopted and began learning her new hobby, Covid-19 hit their little town and the main beach was closed. She kept her spirits up while taking walks on desolate open beaches, going for car rides, and playing with toys, but Risa could tell she missed the main beach. Once the main beaches re-opened, Chia’s gift for surfing would begin to help others.
You see, Chia’s mom and dad have a surf school in Sayulita called Surf It Out. Chia began surfing with the students and showing them how to ride waves to build their courage on the water. Her presence helps to rid the students of their fears and show them how much fun surfing can be! She is now the official Chief Surfing Assistant for Surf It Out.
Over the last couple of years, Chia’s surf lessons have become therapeutic. Chia began surfing with Olas Para Todos, an initiative to give children with disabilities the opportunity to experience the ocean through surfing.
Chia will be working with Olas Para Todos again this summer, joining the kids on their boards, showing them how to ride the waves, and helping them discover their inner confidence. She and her parents will also be hosting Mar y Vida, a free kids camp through their business, Surf It Out. The week-long surf camp is for local kids who show promise in school with good grades, who come from low-income families. During that week, Chia and her parents work with the children to build their confidence and surfing skills, they teach water safety and go on boating day tours, among other activities. Local restaurants donate lunches to the children, as it is a true community event.
On her days off the surfboard, you can find Chia hanging out at her mom’s local shop, Belle Curves, which makes up-cycled performance swimwear for athletic women with curves. Chia and her mama are passionate about inclusivity and are true leaders in their local community.
Chia shows us that jobs for dogs can come in many forms. Trying new things with your dog is a great way to find their passion and provide them with enrichment. Giving your dog a job encourages healthy physical and mental stimulation, and overall, it gives them purpose. Just like humans, when we have activities that we enjoy and routines, we tend to feel more fulfilled.
Whether it’s surfing, water toy retrieval, or simply swimming & splashing in the shallow end, try some new things out with your dog this summer! KONG makes several water toys for fetching and floating, and you can find those here! Make sure if you take your dog swimming that you have the right safety gear, like a canine life jacket.
Do you have a dog who has an unusual job or hobby? Let us know by tagging us on Instagram @KONGCompany using the hashtag #KONGdog.