Maybe there’s a kid in your house who spends lots of hours a week on a skateboard, you know, doing tricks and all sorts of things. Maybe you spend lots of hours on a skateboard, showing off to your neighbors. But did you ever watch a dog on a skateboard — for hours at a time?
No, this is not just any dog skateboarding; this dog is special. He even has credentials. He’s a 2-year-old, purebred English bulldog named George, whose father was the bulldog champion at the nationally acclaimed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show several years ago. What makes George special is that he skates on his own board an average of five to six hours a weekend on the Summerlin driveway of his master, or on some empty parking lot, or even at a city skateboard park.
“He would skate longer than that if we let him,” said Dr. Marcus J. Singel. “But my spare time is limited to weekends, and that’s about all the time we can give him.” Singel maintains a full-time practice as a podiatric physician and surgeon.
Now, if you think this is all some kind of a gag, just visit georgeskates.com and watch any or all of the clips in which George demonstrates his talents on his very own skateboard.
Furthermore, how many dogs do you know who not only skateboard but have their own website? Well, George goes even one better — he also has his own Facebook page with more than 7,000 followers, according to Singel.
It all began when the doctor’s wife, Nadine, spotted George on a video. At that time, he was still part of a litter of 7-week-old pups in Reno. The Singels had owned two bulldogs that had grown old and died, and once Nadine learned that the pup they would ultimately name George was available for adoption, she flew to Reno to bring him home.
From the very start, “George was full of energy. We felt he needed some kind of activity to calm him down,” Singel said. After hearing about another dog that had taken to skateboarding, Singel said he bought an inexpensive skateboard to see if George and the board were compatible.
Were they ever! The way Singel explained it, once he showed George how to acclimate his paws to the board, there was no stopping him.
“We can’t keep the board where he might see it. I have to store it in the trunk of my car at all times. Otherwise he gets hysterical,” Singel said. “We take him on Sunday mornings to the big parking lot at RC Willey. It’s always empty then, and he has the freedom to skateboard.”
George has his own system of warming up to the task.
“After I take the board out of the trunk, George will run with it for a few minutes, flip it over a few times, then he’ll hop on,” Singel said. “Amazingly, he steers the board.”
Singel explained that on other occasions, George skateboards up and down his driveway.
“We live in a cul-de-sac, and he’ll ride onto our neighbor’s driveway,” he said. “He might go an hour or so, until we have to take the board away. He loves to play, and he loves for people to watch him.”
Singel said that on one occasion, the dog jumped onto some kid’s skateboard. The kid got scared and jumped off.
“We can’t even mention the word ‘skateboard’ in the house,” he said. “There’s the time when I had the car trunk open for some other reason, and George jumped in to get his board.”
He noted that once the dog adapted to the first board, “$180 later, we got him a good skateboard.
“It used to be that I could get the board away from him easy,” Singel explained. “The only way I can get it away from him now is to grab onto both of his front paws with all of my strength. He’s a solid 60 pounds.”
So how did George get his own website?
“We took videos of George’s exploits to send to family members,” Singel said. “Nadine put some of them on the computer, which made it easier to send.” And thus georgeskates.com was born.”
Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is now available. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.