One day I was sitting at my desk
staring down at the street as I
often do, and I saw something that
provided me with an epiphany. A woman drove
by in her golf cart, jug of wine at her feet and her free hand on top of her dog’s head. She was just cruising
along at an amicable pace, looking like she was just out for a random drive with nowhere particular to go. It
struck me then, that this would be a perfect life (even though I don’t drink wine, it’s the principle of the
People and dogs have gone together for more than 30,000 years. Our symbiotic relationship has been
proven over and over throughout the years, and now researchers have found that responding to a dog’s
searching stare releases the hormone oxytocin in both species when they look into each other's eyes – the
same hormone released when a human mother beholds her baby. What's more, the study showed that
higher levels of oxytocin were released during a mere gaze than during petting or talking.
Dogs also seem to get a rush of oxytocin from riding on golf carts ... and maybe more? One of the things I
set out to accomplish during our coverage of the island’s golf cart dogs (which you will find inside) was to
ask the owners how they got their dogs to stay on the cart when they went in the store. Most of the dogs
we interviewed, it seems, were not the best at doing that. I know a few people who had their dogs trained
by professionals, but many people I have asked this question of look at me blankly as if to say, “Well doesn’t
everyone’s dog just sit and the golf cart and wait for their return?”
That answer is a resounding NO. Most dogs do not, but lucky for us, there is magic in the air on Gasparilla
It was also interesting to learn the history of growth on the north end of the island. It is truly a beautiful
place “up there,” particularly around Lake Gasparilla. The enormous amount of study and thought that it
took to create a small neighborhood where development wasn’t discouraged but environmental issues were
still taken to heart is astounding. It makes me realize how lucky we are to have an organization like the Gasparilla
Island Conservation and Improvement Association on our side.
Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers this spring, too. These two months bring bright, bold, beautiful
flowers out into the world, so much so, that it’s almost worth always carrying your camera. Take a golf cart
drive (with your dog, of course) and tour every street in town, and you’ll be truly amazed at the variety of
blooming plants and flowers we are blessed enough to have here.
Please, be kind to each other. Our busy season will be done before
we know it and we can hear the birds singing once more.
Gone, but not forgotten. A lover of all rides,
boney-headed Max (in the back seat) has
passed. Elouise is riding in the front. These
aren’t Dizey Lindquist’s dogs, by the way, she
was just their driver.
Yes, Boca Grande dogs often have their own
Above are my two (not-so-golf-cart-friendly)
dogs, Lily and Snook.
10 GASPARILLA ISLAND March/April 2018