In Cabarete, a coastal town on the turquoise northwest coast of the Dominican Republic, street dogs roam the beach protecting their lawns and sources of food. Underneath is a sturdy, well-groomed pooch with soft, thick fur that has been curled into perfect curls by lifelong accumulation of wet sand, and lashes so long they look like fakes. It’s called Scooby and it’s the recognized front runner on the beach. He is also the only dog with a security ID and a job in guest relations at Velero Beach Resort.
Scooby’s rise to prominence is a testament to his uncanny intelligence and sense of control and purpose. The 10-year-old offspring of Lourdes Perez’s dog Cece was independent from an early age. Despite taking to the streets as a puppy, he regularly checked into the Perez house. Lourdes’ cousin David says, “I grew up with Scooby and saw it all. He would go to the beach alone to swim. Because of his long hair, he was hot and smart enough to cool off. “Chico Perez, a cousin, recalls:” We all laugh about it. Scooby would go to the disco at night – Bamboo Disco is a few miles up the beach. Scooby would show up, find people he knew, and then find his way home. “
In 2005, Gordon Segal moved to the Velero Beach Resort, which is across from Scooby’s birthplace. Segal suffered from chronic migraines and walked on the beach at night when he could not sleep. Scooby began to accompany Segal on his walks. Back then, Velero’s security service didn’t leave dogs on the property, so Scooby had to wait for Segal in front of the gate. At the time Scooby’s white and gold-gray fur was matted with sand and dirt, and it had flames; Segal cleaned him up and started feeding him regularly. Who saved whom is hardly the question. It wasn’t formal, says David Perez. “Scooby just became Gordon’s dog.”
Rick Brackins, who has been coming to the resort since 2004, points out another Scooby accomplishment. “I’ve seen Scooby in all the restaurants on the beach. It’s been around for a long time. And he’s the reason Velero’s previous management was laid off. “