Loa “Brown Bear” ~ A Love Story

No Boys Allowed. Women Only!
July 19, 2014
A Week in the Pura Vida Life – by Anna Davies
August 20, 2014

Loa “Brown Bear” ~ A Love Story

I believe that everything is meant to be. When Loa came into my life, I didn’t want a dog and I actually didn’t really like her. But she came into my life for a reason. To show me unconditional love and friendship. After much resistance, I ended up loving Loa so much that I would bring her everywhere, talk to her like a person and would catch myself watching her in the review mirror while I was driving because she was so darn cute.

But this is not a love story about our love for each other, but for her love of the ocean. Loa absolutely loved the water and would go crazy every time we would come near it or she would sniff it. She was like a kid at the beach and when it was time to go, you had to drag her away from the water.


She also had an absolute addiction for fetching rocks. She would incessantly bark at you until you threw a rock for her. Of course the bigger the rock the better. I have distinct memories of her barking at boulders the size of her head and wanting people to throw them for her. Most people didn’t understand Loa’s love for big rocks. She would get annoyed if you threw the small rocks instead. She would watch these poor souls throw the small rock and then bark at them for getting it wrong. If you haven’t heard Loa’s bark, it is the kind of bark that you need to stop. The best part about Loa and her addiction is that the barking never stopped until you dragged her away from the beach. I miss that annoying bark.

But this is not a story about her love for rocks, it is a story about her love for the ocean and particularly her love for surfing. Loa loved to surf. She like many people got FOMO and if a group of us where to paddle out and she was left on the shore, she would swim out herself to join us. If the surf was too big, she would howl on the beach because she was pissed that we left her behind.


These photos were taken by my good friend Pam Stevenson. She captured Loa on one of her favorite days of surfing. I remember this day so fondly, because Loa was so darn stoked to go surfing with us that she was like a kid in a candy store and couldn’t get enough.

I love how comfortable she felt in the water and how she was fearless. There were so many times that we paddled for a wave together and would crash or miss it. If she fell off the board, she wanted to get right back on and keep going. We surfed with her for hours that day. She didn’t want to stop. Once again, we had to drag her out of the water because we noticed that she was getting tired.


I remember for the rest of the day, Loa was truly beaming. Her energy reminded me of when I had had a great day surfing and how amazing I felt afterwards, and how the rest of the day was AWESOME.


Loa only got one wave that day after many attempts. She fell on the rest of the waves or didn’t catch them. She didn’t care about her failed attempts or missed opportunities, because she was having so much fun smiling, splashing and hanging with her favorite pals. Which is the most important thing about life.

Once again she taught me another lesson that surfing isn’t about perfection it’s about laughing at yourself, being with your friends and having fun!


If you were lucky enough to come to surf camp in the last 9 years and meet Loa our mascot, you would have met a truly amazing dog. I am definitely bias. I will miss her. She has now gone to doggy heaven with her endless beaches and piles of rocks.


RIP Loa September 2001 to July 2014. You truly lived a blessed life.


  1. Michelle Bowyer says:

    Thanks for sharing this touching story about Loa’s love of the ocean, surfing and her beloved rocks. I remember being at your camp and no matter where we headed out to surf, Loa would always find us and hang out as she hated missing out on the fun.

    I’m sure the surf’s up and that there are rocks a plenty wherever you are sweet Loa. Glad we got to meet you, you were one cool pooch!

  2. tierza says:

    Thanks Michelle. She will definitely be missed. Every time I see a big rock, I will think of her.

  3. Cathy says:

    wow I have tears in my eyes because your sweet words for Loa. I do remember Loa from surf camp 2007. She was too cool for school. reminds me our dog Savannah which we lost 3 years Aug 31st and we still miss her and every once in a while she is in a dream so real I could smell her sweet summer hay smell. Some of the best people I ever met were dogs. RIP sweet LOA Brown Bear………………

  4. tierza says:

    Thank you Cathy. I think our fury friends are some of our best pals. She honestly went with me everywhere. She even went into the supermarkets in Costa Rica. She greeted me everyday when I would wake up with a howl and a smile. That you can’t replace.

  5. Wendy says:

    Those pictures are priceless. And I’ve learned far more about life from dogs than they’ll ever learn from me! I didn’t know Loa but I know what it’s like to say goodbye to furbabies. Sounds like her life was one well spent. Thanks so much for sharing this, Tierza!

  6. Erika says:

    I love that little fuzzy brown bear! She had a beautiful life and I’m lucky that I got to be a part of it. Loa and her big rocks, Pancho and his big sticks – they were two peas in a pod of pups. I miss our dogs so much sometimes that it hurts my heart. I often look in the rearview mirror for Pancho’s smiling face, but then I let myself feel the wiggly spastic happiness they both had for life and the ocean and that feeling takes over the sadness. These days I paddle out to surf and imagine Pancho alongside me, and each time I do I feel a boost of exuberance and adrenaline that makes me feel both giddy and invincible. Our dogs were something special and always will be. I like to think of them still together: rock and stick forever!
    Love you Tierza!

  7. Laila says:

    I never got to meet Loa at camp, but what a treat it would have been! She seemed to embody everything you guys are made of. Love, love for the ocean, fun, friends, determination, tenacity, motivation, happy go lucky and much much more. I couldn’t hold back the tears reading her story, but what a love story! May she be catching all the waves and fetching as many big rocks as she likes. Xoxox

  8. Krista Speicher says:

    Tierza! This story touched my heart and made me cry. I remember Loa so fondly and you are right, she taught us all to have courage and not take ourselves too seriously. Surfing is about fun, not perfection. In her own way, she was perfect and the best example how to enjoy life and of what surfing is supposed to be. Thank you for sharing this story with us. It brought back some wonderful memories and made me smile thinking of how long it took me to get up on a board the very first time. Just like Loa, try and try again. Miss you guys!

  9. Terry Matsik-Getchell says:

    Gosh Tierza, you have me almost in tears. I just admire Loa’s traveling (all those flights!)
    Where did she sit on the small Nature Air flight?
    Wonderful photos and great essay about a good dog and her human. Love Terrible

  10. Alyssa Abbey says:

    Wow I knew this dog was cool and special but I really didn’t know just how cool she was..I mean, come on, SURFING!!! What an amazing creature and to find another soul (you) who also shares a deep love of the ocean.. You two are kindred spirits and will know each other for many lifetimes. Thank you for sharing this. You have inspired me to write my own reflections of sweet Osa who is fetching and romping around in doggy heaven with Loa. Xxoooo

  11. Niqui says:

    Crying my eyes out! This story touches in so many levels. Loa, love, friendship, inspiration, ocean, surf, life! Live life, cause it keeps on giving… ❤️

  12. Pam Hardy says:

    So much love all in one place. It’s hard to believe she’s gone. What an inspiration to us all to just be in love with the moments while we have them.

  13. Judy Rowe says:

    Thank you, Tierza. Loa was a passionate spirit. I will always remember our day walking the beaches of Santa Teresa, throwing rocks the size of her head in rivers and lakes, and the way her body wagged when I saw her.

  14. Susan Thompson says:

    Hi Tierza,
    I met you and Loa nine years ago when my friend, Erika, and I came down and spent an awesome week with you. I am so sorry for your loss!!! We just lost our 12 yr-old lab, too. They both had GREAT lives, though!!! Thank you for sharing Loa’s story!
    I’ll be in CR in Dec/Jan with my husband, son, and our friends. We’ll be based out of Nosara. We’re definitely planning on catching some waves. Maybe we’ll drop in for a visit:-)
    Susan from AK

  15. david says:

    I loved Loa too, Tierza – I remember staying at your place in Bend with my little Reecie – at first Loa was jealous and territorial. But on our second day there, Loa kept coming into the room where Reecie was – and just wanted to hang out with her. It was sweet to see her warm up to Reecie. More recent times in Bend, when I visited without Reecie, I remember getting up in the morning, going downstairs, and Loa being so happy to see me and so affectionate. So sweet. I didn’t understand at the time that you lost Loa the pain you were going through. Now that I have lost Reecie, I see now. Our memories in Bend with you, Scott, and Loa are precious.

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