Date: 12 September 2013.
As you would expect, life aboard a coastal cruising boat
insures spectacular views, calm and tranquil anchorages, peaceful nights
and busy days. What it doesn't guarantee is a friend, and the lack of
social interaction can be one of the few down-sides for a soloist life
afloat. Fortunately for me, I now have a terrific companion, one who adores me
first thing in the morning even before I've had caffeine.
Her name is Skipper because she lives on a boat. Skipper is
a Papillon* mix, most of which weigh between four and eight pounds, so not
a large beast by any means. That translates to several bonuses by my way
Smaller dogs eat less, so I'm not required to store large
bags of dog food.
Skipper, at 4 pounds 3 ounces, eats 1/4 cup of dry food per day.
Smaller quantities eaten, therefore I can afford the pricey
better dog food.
Better dog food in the pup means less out after processing
so to speak.
She fits in my purse or dock bag when going ashore.
Because she's well-mannered, town folks want to interact
with me to get to know her.
Skipper is my social secretary.
* pronounced pap--ee--yon (butterfly in French, which her
And Skipper just loves to go to land, though I confess we
had a problem when she first moved on board. My girl was approximately 2.5
years old and housebroken/boat trained. However, every time she got in the
dinghy she thought she was "outside" if you get my drift. We'd get in the
rowboat and she's anoint it, which definitely wasn't pleasant from my
To solve that, I put her on the swim platform and would
wait until there was a performance. Lots of praise and voila: I have a
very smart girl. And no, we would not get into the dinghy until there was
action! Have I mentioned Skipper loves going for boat rides? Motivation
Anyway, a quick rinse of the swim platform and it's all
cleaned up though once and a while I have to use the scrub brush and soap.
Still and all, to not have to go to shore is such a blessing. Now Skip
does like to look at the water so sometimes she goes out and simply enjoys
the view. Because I can too, we sit side by side... me dangling my feet in
the water and she with her little tummy on the cool fiberglass.
Skipper's looking at the water. She does that a lot.
And yes, the platform needs a good scrubbing. Tomorrow.
My friend Mabel is an amazing fiberglass and gel-coat
artist; she built my swim platform from scratch and it's perfect. As she
was making it she asked me what sort of design I wanted in the non-skid. "Er,
these things have designs?" I thought. Fortunately I couldn't come up with
a thing and Mabe made it so the deck looks like the back of a turtle's
shell. It's nifty and suits Seaweed to a tee. Thanks Mabe!
Plus, Skipper likes it.
Like all boaters, my Skipper has had to learn a few
nautical tricks. All Deck Swabbies should know:
"Man the Lifeboat" (get into the dinghy)
"Abandon Ship" (get off the boat or out of the dink)
"At Ease" (stop barking)
"There be Pirates in the cove" (bark!!!)
That last one is used when boats are approaching my home --
she's my early warning system for visitors, be it person or fowl or even a
friendly dolphin or manatee. Her ears are better than mine and having a
head's up is always helpful. Besides, I like to wave at boats going by....
Do you have a dog? or cat? or something else entirely?!
And how did you chose the name of your pet?
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