She (yes she’s a girl) was 2.5 years old when we first laid eyes on her. She was rescued as part of an abandoned litter, in a drain somewhere in Singapore, we were told. She had been at the pound ever since. The only world she had known was the pound.
Never seen the sea before let alone been in a boat, and there we were bringing her onto our floating home.
She was led on a leash towards the boat. Everything was new and bewildering to her but you can see the excitement in her eyes at being allowed to explore this strange new world.
I carried her over the water onto the transom steps then down the companionway steps into Micasa (the name of our boat). That was the moment she first set foot (paw) on Micasa. Then I realised that she had never climbed a flight of stairs in her life before. I tried teaching her how we humans would climb a flight of stairs. One foot (paw) at a time on each advancing step! It was a hard act to follow. She indicated that she wanted to be in the cockpit by repeatedly glancing up into the cockpit from the saloon aisle. So I carried her up there where she sat, nervously looking around at the idle world outside. She remained there for next few hours. I was never far from her all those while not knowing what her reaction would be in such a foreign world to her. A neighbour sailor happened to walk past Micasa during that time and she looked on nervously at the burly man walking by and grawled at him despite her timid demeanor. That was the moment that I realised she had accepted Micasa to be her new home.
She hardly ate during her first couple of days on the boat. I was afraid that she would starve and tried to get more insight into what she would normally eat at the pound. She was already a malnourished dog. Ribs clearly visible through her thin layer of coat. A glance at her conjured up images of famine ridden Ethiopians that I’ve seen on the news years ago. Her head a little disproportionately larger then her angular torso lined by corrugating outlines of her ribs on the sides. A sad sight indeed!
On the second day she started drinking and eating a little, much to my relief but still way too little to even sustain her little body. She’s a medium size dog and weighed a megre 11 kgs.
She’s not a very food motivated dog I was told by the pound owner. True enough to my observations. She would love going for walks around the marina shores. Never too many walks in a day and she would be like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up all the scents from the ground during her walks. Passers-by would look at her and commented to me that she was very thin with an accusatory look which suggested that I have been starving my dog. Something had to be done fast! I wasn’t use to that.
BooBee (she had been responding to her new name on her second day with us) was a choosey eater. She does not eat Kibble (dried dog food) but only rice mixed with meat, mixed evenly into it. I discovered too that she liked the taste of butter, so along with each bowl of her meal I would mix in a large tablespoonful of butter. She seemed to like eating that and that should improve her malnourished condition rather quickly as well! I finally stopped this practice after a full two weeks of energy rich diet. Her body condition had improved vastly during that period. The corrugation of ribs down her sides were shallower and much less pronounced. Looking at her then compared to pictures taken when she first came on board gave me reasons to be contented that I’ve done a reasonable job of looking after her. She still drew comment about being lean. She has a silhouette of a greyhound with a high hanging tummy. Sexy waist line, the Admiral would comment!
Oh, and the flight of stairs at the companionway – out of the 5 steps she would only use the middle (3rd step). She would leap from the saloon aisle floor and bounce through the 3rd step on her way through the small companionway doors. So much for teaching her how we humans would walk a flight of stairs! Now she’s a blur of vision both going up or coming down from the cockpit.
More on our lives crossing path with BooBee’s – forth coming!