I’m not actually a misanthropist (far from it, actually) but sometimes I feel like one. I look around and see all this awful shit going on, most of it caused by humans, much of it humans consciously perpetuating horrible things on others, and I start to wonder if we wouldn’t all be better off if there was a mass extinction of humans.

And then I’ll read something that reminds me that some humans do good things. Well, the truth is that there are a lot of humans doing a lot of good, it just gets buried under the mound of human and animal cruelty, and it is easy to forget the other side of the coin.

One surfer and one dog doesn’t change the world, but they did give my mood a lift today and reminded me to look for the good, despite all the bad.

A surfer rode a wave on his stomach to rescue a struggling dog that had been swept off a pier and into Lake Michigan.

Matt Smolenski, 25, said he grabbed the pooch’s collar just as the exhausted, black-and-brown mixed breed stopped dog-paddling on Tuesday.

“He put the dog up on his surfboard, and the dog rode the surfboard in to shore,” said Royce Rodgers, an off-duty Muskegon Heights police officer who witnessed the rescue.

As the dog crouched on the board, Smolenski held on from the water, fighting large waves and a strong current all the way to shore.

“I’ve watched the dog about a million times,” said Smolenski, of Grand Haven. “He barks at the waves and then jumps back when they wash up on the pier.”

Rodgers, who had started walking his own dog on the pier but turned back around after seeing the size of the waves, said the other dog wasn’t on a leash when the wave swept it over the side. The same wave knocked the animal’s owner off his feet, Rodgers said.

“The dog was trying to swim, but the waves were very large. It was struggling,” Rodgers said. “The owner was screaming for the dog.”

Rodgers said the owner thanked Smolenski and gave him a high five. The owner then “left so fast, I couldn’t get his name,” he said.

Thanks Matt. Thanks for saving the dog, and restoring my faith in humanity, just a little.

And to all the dog parents out there who take their dogs on boats or into whatever water situation, consider getting a doggy life preserver. They’re actually pretty inexpensive, and while I have no idea how well they work, seems like it would be a good thing to have around.

maggie the pooch