Last weekend, I drove to the southern Oregon coast with my dog, Mickey. I took him there with intention of seeing a dream come true for both of us.

Since adopting Mickey 5 years ago, I?ve dreamed of taking him to the ocean. For all these years, I?ve had this same long-standing wish for him. Over time, it?s never really faded but actually become more important and hoped for. I?d had a vision of just how much fun it would be for him. I?d never made any specific plans ? just the dream. Often, during the past five years, I?ve pictured how happy he?d be to run on the beach, jump in and out of the waves and play with other dogs who?d also landed at the same blissful spot.

So, on Saturday, I loaded my car with a few essentials and Mickey, and we headed to the coast to make this dream come true. After a beautiful drive, which included cruising through the Redwoods, we arrived at the postcard-perfect little coastal town of Gold Beach about 2 o?clock. I checked into the motel where my room had a balcony view of the mountains, the Pacific Ocean and the Rogue River. But there wasn?t time to take it in. As fast as I could unload the car, Mickey and I headed back out tothe closest beach access road, about a mile away.

The moment we pulled into the parking lot and Mickey caught a glimpse of the ocean out the front windshield his heart leaped. His whole body and spirit lit up like 4th of July fireworks. My car was much too small to contain all of his excitement.

Over the years, I?d imagined how that day at the ocean would look and the kind of day we?d have for Mickey?s first day at the beach. It would be a blue-sky day with white fluffy clouds, white-capped waves, dogs running forever, stopping just occasionally to play with their best friends or other dogs, children building sandcastles, couples walking hand in hand. Saturday was that day.

Within a few shorts seconds, we were out of the car and Mickey was at the beach! Truly, I believe that Saturday was the best day of Mickey?s life so far. I?d never seen him so happy. The minute his paws touched the sand, they didn?t. Or, maybe they barely touched it again. I?m not sure. He?d found his heaven. It appeared there were many moments when none of his paws were actually touching sand. There really wasn?t time. It was so funny to watch his body try to catch up with his eyes and ears and nose. He?d start out at a run, stop, jump, spin around in a circle or two, sniff some sand or shells or driftwood then run again. He stopped by to offer his help to a couple of children building a sand masterpiece, sniffed the hole where another was digging for clams, said a brief hello to a kissing couple, then took off again for another wave. Several times, he?s leap out of the waves to run down the beach after another running dog. ?After a couple of seconds into the happy chase, he?s spot something new and exciting to explore. He?d twirl spin, sniff, jump into a wave, jump out again, run back to the ocean and bark a quick hello to the white froth, then out again to greet another dog or a couple walking by. Then back again to play in the waves. Again and again. All afternoon and into the early evening.

That night, Mickey looked like my black lab greyhound though he smelled like a fish. But he slept like a very happy dog. Mickey never consciously knew that running on the beach and playing in the ocean was one of his big dreams, but after I saw him Saturday, I?m sure it must have been. So we shared a dream come true.

Early Sunday morning, I woke and stepped out on the balcony. From every point of view, the mountains and ocean were hidden from sight by a deep, quiet, peaceful fog. So, Saturday had been the day. ?Mickey had had his perfect first day at the beach.