Feb 23, 2014

Ode to Nikki the Sailing Pooch

If opportunity doesn't knock,
Build a door.
Milton Berle

Tired out Nikki - doesn't have energy to keep tongue in
Our cuddly four legged deck mate (well mostly cockpit mate) will be spending time on land while we sail to the South Pacific.  She is trading seals, dolphins, and crabs for 2 adults, 2 toddlers and 2 miniature poodles somewhere north near the Canadian border...  She will no longer be the center of attention, something new to learn.  When we dropped her off last week, it was -2°F!  Unlike our negative reaction to this cold and rude awakening, she didn’t seem to mind a bit.

The logistics of bringing her to these remote South Pacific Islands would have been unfair for this beach going, land loving, crab and lizard chasing furry critter.  Between the extended periods linking land times and quarantine laws with uncertain outcomes, we thought it would be better and healthier for her.  Not sure her hosts will feel the same when they see the amount of fur they’ll be dealing with come springtime when shedding goes full swing… (You were forewarned)…  It also made sense since we are crewing on someone else’s boat for this portion of our adventures. 

We will miss our little partner in wonderful discoveries and encounters.  She helped us break many of the barriers we came across with Mexicans not easily or naturally opening up to foreigners...  She unlocked so many communication doors while on walks, on the bus, in taxis, in our kayaks, or in restaurants.  People, mostly kids, invariably wanted to pet her, talk to her, or hold her; which led to chatting with people who normally wouldn’t have given us the time…  They were all amazed at her young spirit for a dog in double digits of age…  She is much better remembered than us most times.

Nikki with new friend Mia - quite the pair!
So our next adventure will be without Nikki:
  • Waking us up each morning at the first sign of light with a very close nose to nose check.
  • Rubbing vigorously like crazy on the comforter to spread the fur and puppy smells around, claiming her territory.
  • Doing a wild-wiggle-waggle of the tail to be brought off the V berth ready for the day! 
  • Our little shaggy ‘cherub’ – carrying kisses back and forth between Mike and me. 
  • Our tiny, but fierce, watchdog alerting us of anything large floating or swimming near the boat.
  • Our small furry bug insisting on a walk, a hike, or new exciting things to smell, chase or find. 
  • Ensuring, with sudden bursts of kisses, we take regular breaks from thinking or working too hard.
  • Our foot warmer.
  • Our extra cuddly bug when we don’t feel so good.
Nikki loves looking outside - Liam close behind
We will miss:
  • That cute slightly sideways cocked head when she understands what we say or spell out: G-O, W-A-L-K, or T-R-E-A-T… 
  • Her jumping to our rescue when one of us would sneeze or cough, ensuring we would feel better. 
  • Her quick hiccup-like squeaks while dreaming.
  • Her very constant and catchy joie-de-vivre.  
  • Her fixed gaze to read the clues on each of our face looking to see if we are going somewhere with or without her, ready to give her a bath or medicine.
  • Her snatching and carrying my dirty clothes around (the smellier, the better) with the prance of a proud hunter getting away with a prey
  • Her rapidly turning in tight circles at the door when she wants to chase some ‘unknown’ intruder away.
Off course, this leave of absence from our pooch is unfortunate for Mike now has no one else to blame for that mysterious odor, that inexplicable mess or that missing something or other….

Nevertheless we are looking forward to our new adventure sans Nikki.  We will miss her but we know she is in excellent loving hands and we’ll see her soon.

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