Pets on board

dogs on the beach

We’re a pet-free boat. Oh, we tried, once upon a time. Hermit crabs count, right? We needed a little education before jumping into that one, but… well, they have personality. Kind of.

Truth be told, I really miss having a dog, and the kids to do. We know a few boats with cats, but boats with dogs aboard are a little less common.

It’s messy: less space and more feet/paw prints and hair. It adds complication: countries can have very specific and inflexible rules about entry for your pet.

Our friends on Love Song pretty well smash any myths about long term / long distance cruising with a dog: two dogs, actually, and a cat. They’ve been living aboard for over a decade, have crossed the Pacific, and have Their yellow lab Dallas, above, is eleven and has been on board since they brought her home as a pup.

Dulce was added to the family when they found the bedraggled dog on a beach in Mexico.

dogs on the beach

Last year, Miao was added to the floating family after being rescued from near death in Thailand.

Miao things she's a dog

These aren’t small dogs, but they make it work. The dogs have crossed the Pacific. They’ve made lengthy passages, from the big leap to the South Pacific, to runs from the Marshall Islands (where they’ve spent hurricane months) back down to the islands. Sure, it’s impacted their routing. No trips to Australia or new Zealand. It can be done (Ceilydh has written the how-to for bringing in their cat into Oz, among other cat topics), but it’s expensive and inconvenient at best.

It was actually Dulce who “taught” Dallas to consistently pee on the bow, where it can be hosed down. It’s Miao who sends all of them running around this little islet we’re anchored off, as she tries to pretend to be a dog: treeing squirrels, chasing birds, and yes, catching fish. Just say “FISH!” to Dallas, and she’s off to the shallows to hunt.

What do we have? We have Stevie.

Stevie is a little gecko that we spirited away from Ambon last February.

Catching geckos

He disappears for weeks at a time, but apparently we have enough bugs (cough) to keep him happy. Mostly, eh lives in the forward head. Stevie is the current in a list of Stevies (#5? #6?), but he’s proven to have staying power, and, well, he’s kinda cute.

When we brought him on, he was tiny. Less than 2″ long. Now? Not so tiny. Now? Comes when he is called. Well, sometimes, when you cluck at him nicely. Now? Likes to be hand-fed. Truth. Niall is always looking for bugs to feed him, and I have to admit, we all get a big kick out of the little gecko-kiss of hand feeding.

Not exactly a pet you can cuddle up to, but the kids adore him, and…well, it’s sweet. We’d all love a pet, but for us it’s just not quite practical… except the gecko. We’ll stick with Stevie.

5 Responses

  1. Gecko’s work. It’s about love and looking out for your pet and just knowing you have a “wild thing” living in beside you. Never thought I’d be a sailing boat with a d-o-g but after meeting Mancha, our Guaymas, Mexico rescue who just BELIEVED and never gave up the look of “please help me” until we did…I’d say the good vs. the downside is well worth it and like having kids, well, you just adjust and before too long, say a day or two, it’s old hat and becomes a quick good thing. Love the post….it made me smile (as Mancha sleeps out on top of everything torn out of the lazerettes as Ethan installs a new autopilot in Eyoni). From Panama City, Nancy

  2. Nice post! I love geckos and dislike, in particular, certain kinds of bugs. I will be welcoming geckos on board anytime, anywhere. And I love it that your kids get to have a pet, something else to care for and love, even if it is Stevie #5 or whatever. Who knows how long these beings live anyway? I do worry about finding dogs on beaches that look at me with longing eyes. I’m a sucker for dogs.

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