It’s official. Honey is middle-aged.
Although she didn’t ask for anything for her birthday this past Thursday, there are a few things I wish I could give her.
Is She Really That Old?
Living in a boat, we travel almost constantly. So Honey gets to meet lots of new people.
The strangers ask her name, give her lovies, and then ask us how old she is.
When I tell them Honey is seven years old, they express shock.
“She acts like a puppy.” “She doesn’t have gray fur.” And most surprisingly, “She’s so skinny!”
Apparently all old dogs are fat? Or maybe it’s just because we travel so much in the American South where bacon is the second ingredient in every recipe.
Anyway, Honey has been a practically perfect pup for seven years. If I could give her anything, this is what I’d wish for her birthday.
Birthday Wishes For Honey
We’re back at Lady’s Island Marina in Beaufort, SC for a week before continuing south. It’s a place I described last year as a place where Honey feels at home.
One reason is because there were a few friendly dogs on other boats with very compatible play styles and a big yard where they could play off-leash.
One of those dogs, Siena, is still here. But he’s had spine surgery and is still recuperating.
Yesterday, we stayed on the opposite side of the street as Siena and his person walked by. Didn’t want to get close enough to instigate a play bow that would undo months of rehabilitation.
Honey looked resigned. And Siena kept turning back to look at Honey until they finally passed out of sight.
There’s an Australian cattle dog two boats down from us. And a golden doodle on another dock. We haven’t seen them out at the yard yet. But perhaps there’s some play time in Honey’s future?
Freedom of choice
I love our sailboat. It’s amazing.
But it’s not dog friendly.
There’s a steep ladder with four steps to climb up into the cockpit. If Honey wants to sit outside (or come back in), we have to lift her.
The bed we share is about three feet off the ground and has a slippery, varnished floor in front. Honey has jumped off the bed once or twice but doesn’t feel secure. And as she gets older, she should probably take it easy on her joints.
When Honey wants to get on or off the bed, we carry her.
Finally, when we’re at a fixed dock during high or low tide or the wind is blowing the boat off the dock, Honey needs us to put up her ramp or pull the boat close to shore so she can disembark.
I wish Honey had as much freedom to move around the boat and dock as she did to move around our house.
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A Reliable Outboard Engine
And my last birthday wish for Honey is a reliable outboard engine for the dinghy.
When we’re at anchor, we have to assemble our folding dinghy and row her to shore for potty (and play) breaks. But in areas with a strong current, we’re not strong enough to row against the flow. (If you’re wondering how I know, read last year’s Boat Dog Adventures post.)
We need an outboard engine.
The reason we’re at this marina for a week is to fix our outboard engine.
When we anchored off Topsail Island in North Carolina, we discovered the outboard engine would cut out every time we tried to speed up. It only wanted to run in idle.
That’s fine in the weak currents off the Topsail Sound. But it’s an adventure in the making in the swift currents of South Carolina and Georgia.
In fact, we had an adventure taking Honey for a break in the same spot where I could not row against the current last year. But I think I’ll save that story for another blog post.
Let’s just say that Honey has come to enjoy being lowered into the dinghy using a block and tackle and her special Ruffwear DoubleBack Harness. She doesn’t complain about riding in the dinghy.
And she loves getting a chance to roll in stinky things on the beach.
Honey deserves a working outboard engine for her birthday.
Birthday Every Day Of The Year
There is one thing I’ve given Honey for her birthday. And it’s what she enjoys more than anything else.
Honey gets to go nearly everywhere with us.
We’re usually together on the boat. When we stop in a town, she gets a long walk to explore. We search out pet-friendly parks and restaurants and stores at GoPetFriendly.com. And we do our best to find new places on our own.
Not everything on board is perfect for Honey. But the life of a boat dog is a pretty good one.
Almost like having your birthday wishes come true every day of the year.
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Your Turn: What do you think your pets most want for their birthdays?