Florida Boating

Saturday, August 18, 2012


By Barb Hansen
October, 2011

My name is Skye. I'm the new Border Collie around here. My assignment is to be the office dog and security dog for the Southwest Florida Yachts charter fleet. I also serve as the personal house pet and boat dog for my new parents, Barb and Vic Hansen.

Barb, my new mom, asked me to write this month's column so I could tell you my story.

I'm not a puppy. I'm already five and a half. The Hansens adopted me just a few months ago after their beloved Star passed away at the age of 16. They were very sad. One day Aunt Theresa at the animal clinic called them and told them she had a dog – that was me – who needed a home and some attention. They decided to give me a try.

Of course, I had to be on my best behavior because I knew right away that this would be a special place. First of all, I would not have to work 24/7 and sleep outside in the yard like with my first assignment. Before I was given up for adoption, my first parents kept me outdoors all the time. Today I have my own bed inside an air-conditioned house.

Right off the bat I learned it would not be a good idea to bother the house kittens or chew on the sofa. No big deal. Mom gives me really good food and lots of yummy treats. I'm pretty sure I've passed the probationary period.

I've come to understand that I've got four big feet to fill. Star the wonder dog was Barb and Vic's heart and joy. She was a Border Collie, too, which endowed her with exceptional skills.

Mom told me that Star was the official greeter at Southwest Florida Yachts. Her job was to welcome all, smile, and to lie down and be quiet when they had visitors. I hear ya, Mom.

They took me to Marinatown where the fleet boats are headquartered. Mom told me Star was very good at patrolling the docks at the marina, providing security of a sort and shooing away birds from the boats. Heck, I can do that. When I was at the pound I overheard somebody say that that the local airport was spending $5,000 to train a border collie like me to chase birds off the runway. For free dog food and medical care I can shoo birds from boats. It's in my DNA.

Please understand I have nothing against birds. It's only that they need to know that there is a place for everything and a boat isn't one of them. I went on a short weekend cruise with Mom and Dad recently and, oh boy, did I learn that lesson.

I haven't been on any extended cruises but I'm really looking forward to them. They told me Star liked to pace around the boat and when a dolphin surfaced she'd give a shout out to the passengers to let them know the show had started. Mom told me the more Star ran around the deck barking at the dolphins, the more they would perform. I could do that.

I'm good to go. I could even write a guest column now and then.

Just call me Skye the Boating Dog.


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