For the past few years, Bruce Ryder lived on a boat with Pretty Boy (aka P.B.), his beloved Yellow Lab, in Avalon Harbor at Catalina Island, Calif.
Ryder and P.B. were inseparable, and well known by the locals.
Although Ryder no longer drank, he still paid frequent visits to the Marlin Club, Avalon’s oldest bar. So when P.B. ran into the bar alone, wet and shaking, during an unusually fierce storm Tuesday night, inventory manager Randy Jackson feared the worst.
“That dog was his life and his life support,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times.
Concerned, Jackson called Ryder’s cellphone, but got no answer. So he called the harbor patrol.
Ryder’s body was found around 7:30 the next morning, floating in the harbor.
The 4- to 8-foot swells whipped up by the freak storm destroyed five boats, broke off part of a pier and took the lives of Ryder and Tim Mitchell, a harbor patrol officer who was crushed between rocks and a boat he was trying to save that had broken loose from its mooring.
“People were just zombied, absolutely stunned” by the two deaths, Mary Schickling, of Avalon, told the Los Angeles Times. Along with many other residents, she’d known the two men very well.
Both Ryder and Mitchell had worked for Scuba Luv, a diving operation on Catalina Island.
“There are no words to describe the devastation, and the Scuba Luv family appreciates your thoughts at this difficult time,” the company wrote on its Facebook page Wednesday.
Since Tuesday night, Marlin Club patrons have been comforting P.B. The bar’s owner, Tony Underwood, told the Times it will be P.B.’s new home.
Photo credit: Klownacide Records