Girly Goy

My nine-year-old Corgi, Margaret Elizabeth (such a feminine name for such an unfeminine dog!), exudes tomboy. She is a boy with female parts. A goy or a birl. I look out the French doors of my room and she could either be rolling around on the grass in the backyard, as though she is having a grand mal seizure, or chasing one of the many lizards that live back there.

On my 31st birthday last July, I wanted to take her to the Huntington Beach dog beach. I could see it now: she was going to have a blast splashing and playing in the waves with the other dogs! Her inner boy could come out!

At least, that’s how I imagined it.

What dog wouldn't love spending a day here?

What dog wouldn’t love spending a day here?

Here’s what happened:

Arriving there:

Erin: Maggie, you’re going to have fun, I love the beach!

Maggie: I hope so, just not sure about this stuff under my feet. I don’t really like it.

Erin: It’s called sand. It’s hard at first, but you’ll have so much fun you’ll forget about it.


Answer: my dog.

Answer: my dog.

Claiming our spot:

(Watching the other dogs playing in the water. There were Labs, Beagles, and mutts. No Corgi. Yet.)

Erin: Let’s go down by the water.

Maggie: What’s water?

Erin: It’s like what you drink, but at the beach you play in it. Look at how much fun those dogs are having!


Maggie having no part of it.

Maggie having no part of it.


Without even getting a paw wet, my goy had had enough. We spent another hour at the beach, occasionally one of my family members taking her back to the water, with no success. She was braver more comfortable on the blanket.


What. A. Day.

What. A. Day.



When we finally left—none too soon for Maggie—my dog rested the whole way home and a lot of the next day. She was exhausted. FROM WHAT, I still wonder.

Maybe next time we’ll try the mountains. Or the desert. Or even the backyard. Just not the beach.

Say It Ain’t So!


I heard a door slam behind me and a gruff voice over a loudspeaker say, “Erin, report to Hardware!” What was happening? Where was I? And what the heck was hardware? I looked down, hoping it would provide a clue.

This must be a dream, I thought as I saw I was wearing a blue vest with “Erin” on the name tag. Not a dream—more like the scariest nightmare! I worked at Lowe’s! I realized, looking around. Yep: cement floors, industrial round lights on the ceiling. My biggest fear had come true. I thought of the trips with Dad to Home Depot growing up. They probably only lasted 45 minutes; Dad was like a kid in a candy store. But forty-five minutes to a kid is an eternity.

“Erin to Hardware!” the voice repeated, sounding annoyed. It took me at least ten minutes to find the hardware department, and I was extremely confused. Wasn’t the entire store a hardware store? Frantically, I combed the aisles. Finally finding it, I looked up and saw my first customer. The man was my father! I became nervous, and hoped my internal hysteria didn’t show. Dad didn’t accept incompetence, either in his hobby or in his career. Which were woodworking and the power tool industry. Great, I thought.

“Erin, you work here?” Unfortunately, yes. “I need seven wing nuts.” He might as well as speaking Japanese! I’d heard the phrase before, but what a wing nut was I had absolutely no idea. More to the point, I absolutely didn’t care.

My palms wet—dripping, almost—and my hands trembling, I heard a bark. What on earth? Why was there a dog in Lowe’s? This whole thing was getting weirder and weirder. One bark became two before I recognized it: it was my dog Maggie! And she wasn’t in Lowe’s—she was in my bedroom! The whole awful thing had been a nightmare!

“Erin, awake already?” Mom asked as my heart pounded in my chest. Awake? I might never sleep again!


(Photo: Courtesy