Doggie doors

Barney and Ruby are now best buds

Barney and Ruby are now best buds

by Christine Kling

I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the best reasons for having a dog is that they open doors. I don’t mean REAL doggy doors. No, our dogs open the door for us to interact with local people everywhere we go. It matters little whether you’re in the Bahamas, Fort Lauderdale or the Marshall Islands, when we bring the puppies ashore we meet lots of new people.

This happened this past week out at Eneko Island. It was a Monday, so we were surprised when around noon the first boatload of kids showed up and dumped about 25 people on the beach. It was mostly kids with a few adults. Two more boatloads later and our quiet little beach had become quite busy. The little rustic resort has two kayaks for people’s use and soon groups of kids and adults were paddling out to check out the boat and setting off the Canine Alarm System. Any savvy burglar would surely notice that a prominent component of our Canine Alarm system is wagging tails and doggy smiles. Smiling Marshalese people were paddling out all through the early afternoon to see the boats up close. We’d hear “Cute dogs!” or “Nice boat!”

What we tend to forget living here is that most of the people who live here in Majuro don’t have access to boats. They don’t come out into the lagoon to see the boats — not because they aren’t interested, but because they don’t have a means.

Ruby and guysAfter some work on the book (of course, I feel it’s never enough, but I did do some!) we took our dogs in the inflatable kayak and headed for shore to find out what the story was behind the beach day. It turned out that an American man was visiting in advance of a visit by a group of Muslim doctors. There is a small mosque in Majuro with a Muslim community of about 300 people. The visitor was the brother of one of the doctors and he is a member of Muslims for Peace. He had, out of his own pocket, hired the boat to ferry the kids out to the beach since that Monday was a half day for students. Wayne stopped to talk to a group of men and several of them wanted to have their picture taken with Ruby. As usual, the dogs were the doorway to getting to know these kind people. They had a picnic spread on the tables and they offered us their food with big smiles.

Barney and boysI took off down to the water with Barney and he was a real hit with the little kids. Let’s face it — he looks like a toy and when the kids discovered he wouldn’t bite, they started lifting him up and hauling him around by his midsection. He looked pretty miserable, but he was patient with them.Everyone wanted to hold him. I finally put him on a plastic kayak with a group of boys and they had a grand time — as did Barney since the seat on the kayak was filled with water and there’s nothing he likes more than having his own little pool.

When it became clear that the dogs were tiring of the attention of a crowd of kids, we got our inflatable kayak and carried it down to the water. Immediately, a half dozen kids piled on. There was no room for us or the dogs. Then one boy stood up, gave a little shriek and leaped into the water. Well, that started what seemed to be the most fun game on the beach. With the kayak filled with sandy kids and dogs, they’d stand up and jump into the waist deep water.

Wayne finally said, “Okay, one more time.” Of course, each kid took up that refrain and as they climbed back into the kayak for the fifth and sixth time, they kept pleading, “One more time!” We finally got ourselves and the dogs into the boat, and as we paddled away from the beach, we could still hear little pleading voices calling out, “One more time!” Wayne and I looked at each other smiling, both knowing what the other was thinking. Kids all over the world aren’t all that different.

Yes, our dogs can be noisy and messy, and yes, sometimes they drive us crazy, but they certainly earn their keep with all they bring through being our doggie doors to new friends.

Fair winds!



Share on Facebook

About Christine Kling

I have spent more than thirty years living on and around boats and cruising the waters of the North and South Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Caribbean. I’ve written articles and stories for many boating publications including Sailing, Cruising World, Motor Boating & Sailing, and The Tiller and the Pen. When I was married, I helped my husband build a 55-foot custom sailing yacht. After launching her, we sailed through the Panama Canal to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands where we chartered for over two years. While in the islands, I received my 100-ton Auxiliary Sail Captains license. It was that sailing experience that led me to set my first nautical suspense novel, SURFACE TENSION (2002), on the waterfront in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring Florida female tug and salvage captain, Seychelle Sullivan, the first book was followed by CROSS CURRENT (2004) and BITTER END (2005). The fourth book in the series, WRECKERS’ KEY was released in February 2007. At the end of the 2010-11 academic year, I took the motto of this blog to heart. I quit my day job as an English professor at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale (just when they offered me tenure, I said no thanks and took early retirement). I was living the dream of full-time cruising on board my 33-foot Caliber Talespinner on my very tiny pension and whatever I made from my books having parted ways with the big publishing establishment. I self-published two books on my own: a small collection of four short stories entitled SEA BITCH: Four Tales of Nautical Noir and my first stand-alone sailing thriller set in the Caribbean, CIRCLE OF BONES. In 2012 I was offered a publishing deal with Amazon's mystery/thriller imprint Thomas&Mercer and they reissued CIRCLE OF BONES. The sequel to that book, DRAGON'S TRIANGLE came out in June 2014. And as for me, I'm no longer a singlehander on my little boat. I met Wayne Hodgins in 2013 and after a whirlwind Skype courtship, I flew to meet him in Fiji and we sailed a nearly 2000 mile passage to the Marshall Islands for our "first date." We now sail together aboard LEARNATIVITY, a 52-foot motor sailor with our family including Barney, the Yorkshire Terror and Ruby, the Wonder Dog.
This entry was posted in Living on a boat, Sailing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Doggie doors

  1. Gail Isaacs says:

    What a wonderful day well spent!

    I’m currently in Puerto Vallarta enjoying myself quite a bit living here, there was a little girl who was just bored her parents were occupied doing something else and I taught her how to make a heart with her hands and she smiled the biggest smile and I think I got just as much out of it!!!

    __ /)__Sail On or Smile On

  2. Gail – you’ve been making kids smile for years! I can’t wait to spend another evening sipping wine and listening to your latest adventures!

  3. Marion Prodaehl says:

    I met Mike in Fort Lauderdale walking our Wiemaraner, Zola. Belle and Zola liked each other so Mike and I began talking while the dogs visited. To date we have never had the chance to boat together but we have maintained a long distance friendship for several years now. All due to the dogs.

Comments are closed.