They say dogs are man’s best friend and this heartwarming photo of a seemingly lonely pup shows exactly why that is.
The golden retriever Labrador cross, known as Milo, is a regular visitor to Bethells Beach, Auckland, where he sits staring out to sea.
But while he may look lost, Milo is actually watching his owner surf, sitting patiently on the sand for him to finish.
Milo’s ‘dad’ Dayne Maxwell, said the two-and-a-half-year-old dog has been joining him at the beach for more than a year.
“When I first started taking him down to the beach I’d tie him up to a tree or the surf tower, and come back and check that he was ok and let him know that I was coming back,” Mr Maxwell told Yahoo7.
“After a bit of time I just kind of tested it by not tying him up and he’d go and sit in the same spot and wait.”
At the end of each surfing session, Mr Maxwell is greeted by his excited pup in the shallows.
“He gets very excited. He’ll be watching the surfers coming out of the water and when he realises it’s me, he comes sprinting up to me… he just goes nuts,” Mr Maxwell said.
Milo sometimes plays with other dogs on the leash-free beach, but he’s never wandered off.
On one occasion, a family friend thought Milo had escaped from his yard and took him home. Now, to avoid any confusion, Mr Maxwell made his best friend a new tag for his collar.
‘Dad’s surfing’, the laminated tag says.
“Now he’s got the tag so people know he’s waiting for me and not abandoned,” Mr Maxwell said.
The heartwarming scene of the young dog patiently waiting on the picturesque beach caught the eye of local photographer Lissa Reyden.
“We were wondering who the dog belonged to and what it was doing sitting there all alone,” Ms Reyden told Yahoo7.
Ms Reyden and her sister noticed the pooch fixated on the ocean, and originally thought its owner could be in trouble in the water.
“That thought didn’t last long as we then noticed his collar saying ‘dads surfing’ and it was so cute to watch him being so loyal,” she said.
“I then couldn’t resist but take some photos as Milo looked stunning in the golden morning light.”
After snapping some photos of Milo and his joyous reunion with Mr Maxwell, she uploaded the photos to Facebook.
The photos quickly gained traction, gathering more than 7400 likes and nearly 300 comments.
For Mr Maxwell, the response has been overwhelming.
“It’s nice to be able to share the love and smiles that milo gives us with other people, because he is a much loved and special dog,” he said.