Traveling with Pets
There are many ways of traveling with pets. Mine is a
tail of sailing on the high seas.
I used to take the boat out a lot in Cornwall when I was in my teens
because my Dad taught me to swim, fish and sail. I took this special
knowledge and used it to escape from home when I needed a bit of
solitary thinking time.
I loved being at sea, it was in my blood. I had read
Hemingway, Melville and Woolf and just about everyone else. Nothing
moved me more than a spectacular sunset that melted into the sea only to
strike the sky with dark silhouettes of the nearby cliffs. I sat in my
little boat for hours that crept into ages; I was never really aware of
An Unwanted Companion
Things were pretty perfect like that. As much fun as it was to take my
friends and family out in the boat, I preferred it to just be me to be
with my own thoughts about life and the future, that is until I met
Sawyer, the Labrador.
Like his literary namesake, Sawyer was charming, brave, entertaining,
and loyal. But also like said namesake, he was crafty, mischievous, and
sometimes you just didnt understand where his mind was coming from, but
he insisted on becoming my best friend.
It happened one day when I had put in to a clear cove so
that I could stretch my legs a little bit before heading back home. Out
of nowhere, this big, fluffy creature came bounding up to me covering me
with kisses. Being a cat person, I tried to turn his doggie affection
aside but he kept running around me and leaping up in that
characteristic doggie greeting dance. I caved in and give him a bit of
lunch and that seemed to settle him down, thanking me with his big,
brown, intuitive gaze, I then decided I had to be on my way.
The next time I say Sawyer he was enthusiastic enough to
try and climb into my boat several times while I shooed him away. A
couple times he did succeed, bringing with him half the tide and lots of
shaggy wet fur. Hauling dogs overboard is not really something I have
practiced in depth, so I kept having to return to shore and entice him
onto the beach, using whatever scraps were left from lunch and a
shore-full of twigs. I feared that if he followed me too far then he
would be in danger with the tide and I couldnt see any owner anywhere,
despite the obvious indication from his full, shiny coat and happy
demeanour that he belonged to someone.
I finally managed to escape, and the sad little fluffy dot on the shore
seemed to get smaller and smaller. Something in me felt a little bit sad
and even touched that I had made a new friend, and the memory of our
meeting stayed with me for days.
Not long after, I sailed around the same region again,
not expecting anything particularly out of the ordinary. I was working
on an assignment from school that encouraged an analytical reading of
Mark Twains work, so naturally I had copies of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer
beside me to read on the beach. I was well into Toms famous
fence-painting escapade when all of a sudden the sun disappeared from
view and I was smothered in fuzzy wet kisses. It was that dog! By the
time I recovered my nerves I was well and truly perturbed and went to
sail off again. And just like last time, that dog wanted to try his paw
at the helm.
My New First-Mate
I have no idea how long we quarrelled and bantered, but eventually the
dog had his way and I decided that it might just be best to let him come
with me surely he would get the idea, grow tired, and want to go back.
How I was wrong after that first trip, I would take Sawyer who I
named that very day on several wonderful and entertaining excursions
around the coast.
I never found out who really owned Sawyer, and was careful not to spend
too much time away from his little beach where we first sort of became
friends. He became my fellow meditator, a sturdy cushion, an amusing
conversationalist and a keen observer, especially of low-flying
seagulls. He was my lunch-buddy, always eager to help out with cleaning
my cooler bare. And I found that through his patient, kind, and loving
eyes, thinking alone wasnt nearly as poignant as thinking with my
That summer we spent a lot of time together, too. He had a good nose for
weather and always helped keep me on track for remaining aware of
changes in the sea. I liked having him there. But time came when life
demanded more urgent projects than sharing the solitude of the sea with
a canine, and I had to leave my favourite pastime for a while so that I
could focus on my university applications. It all paid off though I
did achieve the enrolment of my first choice and when I shared the good
news with Sawyer, he seemed genuinely happy too. When we said our
goodbyes, I promised him that I would come back and take him around the
coves again, that nothing would ever change.
But things do change. When I returned home on holiday and climbed into
my boat with a rush of excitement whether it was the greater for
seeing Sawyer or being on the waves again, I didn't know. I met with
sadness when after a few days of going back to the same meeting point
my beloved first-mate wasnt there. I guess it made sense; he waited and
waited a long-time back for me but got tired and left. I secretly
nurtured the notion that some great, universal telepathy that is shared
by animals and their people would somehow draw us together, that at the
last minute he would come bounding round the rocks and throw his paws in
the air as if to clap them with joy. But that time never came. I
preferred to think that he had found other friends to keep him smiling
and that he was happy.
Then one day, when my heart was resolved and I had accepted that my time
with the sea would once again be solo, I went back to Sawyers little
beach to wrap things up for myself. Just as I turned away to hop aboard,
I heard an all-familiar Woof! echo on the cliffs behind me. I spun
around, hoping that the call belonged to someone who I desperately
needed to see. It was Sawyer!
Pet friendly travel? If you thought cruising was only for people
There is one British pet friendly cruise ship that
operates the Pets on Deck programme, allowing owners to bring their
pets on a cruise with them.
Sally Grimes' research found dogs, cats and other furry favourites
can go on
a luxury transatlantic sailing with their owners. Pets onboard the pet
friendly cruise ship receive the same pampering as their owners. Boasting spacious pet
kennels they have the ultimate luxury
pet accommodation! Learn more about
traveling with pets.
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