I cherish Mufasa, my 14-year-old rescued fox Pomeranian. He weighs 14 pounds, has doleful brown eyes and a fluffy tail that is wider than Matisse’s paintbrush. His ears so delicious they could be mistaken for cookies. Mufasa has an old soul like some other creatures I know and adore.

This Island is a dream for dogs and dog walkers. The beaches, ponds and woods are magical places with magical names: Tashmoo, Squibnocket, West Chop woods. On some days in the off-season the beaches and the woods are ours alone. Symphonies of orange and purple light up the sky and echo off the ocean, the boulders and the ponds.

A few Septembers ago Mufasa and I thought we were the only souls on the beach. We were at Wilfred’s Pond rounding the curve from Vineyard Haven toward the path out to the parking lot when we saw a dot in the water. I stood riveted watching the swimmer. We were less than five minutes from our destination and the swimmer was headed to shore. I calculated our coordinates, him to his towel and Mufasa and I to our exit path, and realized we would meet at the same time.

Then, as he rose up out of the water, I saw he was buck naked. Why couldn’t he have stayed a minute longer in the shallows, I wondered. Oh well, I thought, I am a woman of the world.

The swimmer was tall, 30-something and handsome. In a most elegant British accent he apologized to me. For what, I forget and, really, British accents always undo me, dressed or undressed.

Later, I shared my encounter with my daughter, Erin.

“Well, mom,” she replied. “Did you get his phone number?”

I love this Island. It brings out the best in us.

Helene and Mufasa live in West Tisbury.