An Ode To Tuffy

tuffy in 2008

No story about Raqueros would be complete without an anecdote or two about Tuffy, the world’s wisest dog.

Pronounced Toofie (think of a toothless child trying to say “toothie”), legend has it that he was named by a local Troncones resident who, on seeing him as a young, spritely dog, said “el perro de los dibujos animados”.  Translated:  the dog in the cartoons.  Translated again:  the Disney character Goofy.

Now, one would have to know Tuffy well to realize that this characterization was not appreciated by our resident canine.  Nevertheless, the name stuck… probably because he did bear a striking resemblance (sans the dumb countenance) to the celebrity dog of similar nomenclature.  Lanky, almost gangly, with droopy ears and a casual, carefree but purposeful gait, Tuffy loped up and down the beach on a daily basis during his requisite butt-sniffing, dead-fish-seeking, horse-chasing meditation.

It takes a human years– possibly lifetimes– to come to the level of enlightenment that allows him or her to be simultaneously above it all while still being a commoner, able to follow and thoroughly execute commands issued by a select few, and relate to the mere mortals that coexist in his or her space.  Tuffy was born that way.

Tuffy was the only trilingual dog I’ve ever met.  You could ask Tuffy to do certain things (most people would say ‘you could command Tuffy to do certain things’, but Tuffy was far above any kind of pedestrian commands) in several different languages and Tuffy would quietly abide.  For example, you could say “Tuffy, go check it out” in Dutch, Spanish or English and he would jump up from what previously appeared to be a drunken coma, utter a low, gutteral “woof” and then proceed to walk the perimeter of the property at Raqueros, making sure there was nothing out-of-line occurring.  Occasionally he’d find something– like maybe a possum or a burro — which he would dispose of without too much of a ruckus.  Then he’d report back to Hans and stare silently and deeply into his eyes, telepathically communicating that “everything’s cool man, can I go back to chasing tail in my dreams?”

A simple nod would send Tuffy back to his usual state of repose on the veranda tile.

Now, I am generally more of a cat person than a dog person.  But some have said that Tuffy was actually not a dog, but some kind of Diety who had chosen to revisit Earth on his own terms:  he wanted to be on a beach where there were no fences, no leash laws, lots of horses and burros, and plenty of friendly people to scratch his ass for him.  This way he could check in on his Earthly inferiors and make sure they were getting by and coexisting in peace, while not having to exert himself too much.  So he chose to come to Dog Heaven (aka Manzanillo Bay) and visit his Doggy and human brethren, who also found themselves blessed enough to live and visit Dog Heaven.

Tuffy used to like to watch me surf.  He knew that I was likely to get up a couple of hours before Hans, so I’d often find him wagging his tail on the Pelicano patio at sunrise, eagerly awaiting me to stagger out for my morning surf.  Knowing I’d likely be moving slow from the tequila imbibed the night before, he never jumped up and down or barked or did anything that would hurt my delicate head.  Just wagged.  Then he’d open the gate for me, so I wouldn’t ding my board when I walked through, and would walk me to the water’s edge, where he’d sit quietly, staring at the ocean while I stretched.  No jumping up and down, no licking, no bullshit.  Just watching the horizon, looking for sneaker sets, ocean critters, anything that might make me uncomfortable.  When I stood up to strap on my leash, he’d quietly nod at me, giving me the “all clear”.  Then he’d sit and watch until I hit the lineup before turning and ambling over to Eden to sniff Estrella’s butt hello.

Being a Diety, Tuffy wasn’t afraid of much.  The only time Tuffy ever showed fear was during thunder storms.  We never figured out why this was– probably some bad memory from a past life before he was a diety.  I can say this now that he’s gone (he never would have tolerated me talking about this in his presence), but more than once at Raqueros I woke up, having sensed a presence in my room, and rolled out of bed to step on a quivering, wimpering, wet dog.  Thunder storms were the only time he would exercise his power to open doors (he probably could have picked the lock too, but I’ve never locked a door at Raqueros).  I still, to this day, don’t know how he figured out to open my room’s door and get in, having never noticed opposable thumbs on him.  I guess, in retrospect, I don’t really need to wonder how he got in:  Deities have their means, I suppose.

Last year, 2010, Tuffy decided that it was time for him to go hang out with his other friends, Ghandhi, Martin Luther King, Mozart, Bach, Bob Marley and others in their class.  He reluctantly passed his throne on to Chamu- a somewhat reluctant but not stupid upstart- and left us to our own devices.  He will be sorely missed but forever remembered.

–John Benedetti
Raqueros webmaster and frequent visitor