Adopted French Bulldog Uses Love of Water to Support Rescues

Cherie was born to surf — and help other pets get adopted.

Dan + Cherie

An adopted French Bulldog puppy turned out to have an unlikely hobby: surfing. Today, Cherie and her family use her skills to raise funds for the rescue that brought her home.

"We discovered Cherie had a love for the water which, as you probably know, is a bit strange for a French Bulldog since they're typically top-heavy and not the best swimmers."

Cherie was surrendered to the French Bulldog Rescue Network when she was only 4 months old and came home to live with us in March 2012. She was supposed to be a friend for our other French Bulldog, Ace, but she turned out to be much, much more.

Adopted Dog Cherie

Upon taking the dogs to Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, California, we discovered Cherie had a love for the water which, as you probably know, is a bit strange for a French Bulldog since they’re typically top-heavy and not the best swimmers. She spent the next couple of trips to the beach cruising around in a life jacket, charging into the water chasing her ball or whichever big dog she decided to follow around that day.

Adopted Dog Cherie

Since she was such a water dog, a friend of ours suggested that we enroll her in dog surfing lessons in Del Mar, California. Held each summer by the Helen Woodward Animal Center, these lessons took place over the course of June, July and August, all leading up to the big Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon. Admittedly, one half of the family thought it was a stupid idea but the other half talked us all into enrolling in that class… and boy are we glad that happened.

Cherie and her dad enjoyed that class so much, we enrolled her for the rest of the summer of 2013 and even competed in the Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon despite not really knowing what we were doing. While we didn’t place, we did take home a very special award. Cherie came in second place for fundraising, cementing the primary reason we continue to compete… to give back.

Adopted Dog Cherie

We continued taking dog surfing lessons over the next couple of years as both Cherie and her dad improved. She continued fundraising all along the way as well. She’s competed in all of the dog surfing competitions in Southern California, as well as a competition in Northern California and even Hawaii!

Adopted Dog Cherie

Fast forward to the Summer of 2019. Cherie arrived in Pacifica, California for the World Dog Surfing Championships, expecting to go out there to do her best and have fun. Nothing more, nothing less. What happened though, was an incredible culmination of all the fun we’ve had over the last seven summers. She not only won her weight class, but she took home Best in Surf winning the World Dog Surfing Championship. Not bad for a little French Bulldog who’s not supposed to swim, don’t you think?

And all of that fundraising? We’ve raised over $15,000 for the French Bulldog Rescue Network and Helen Woodward Animal Center since 2013… and we hope we can give even more back by winning this grant. Surf’s up!

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Dan won French Bulldog Rescue Network in Glen Allen, Virginia a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.