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Star the Wonder Dog
By Barb Hansen
May 5, 2003

What if there were a World's Best Boat Dog for 2003? You could submit your nominations to me at SWFY@aol.com. Vic and I would be the judges. You should know that Vic and I have declared Star, our border collie, as the winner. Your dog could come in second.

Well, why not a World's Best Boat Dog contest? I read recently about the Canine World Hero contest. I have read about a Dress Up Your Dog contest and a Monster Dawg Pull contest. There is a Most Like a Rock Star contest, a Looks like a Famous Person contest, and Looks Most Like Owner contest.

We're not looking for pedigree or prancing like you've seen on TV from the Westminster Kennel Club show. On the scale of dog contests, ours is on the other end, perhaps closer to the coon hunt where dogs harmonize in 10-parts and make their owners proud and in which all canine contestants are thereinafter declared winners. Our World's Best Boat Dog contest would be something like that. But, of course, Star would be first among equals.

Traditionally, border collies herded sheep. We have not given Star the opportunity to herd sheep. However, Star may be the only border collie who herds dolphins from the deck of any trawler or sailboat. Just a whistle and the cry "daaaalphin" from anyone aboard, and Star leaps into action, rapidly moving from one side of the boat to the other and barking at the playful creatures as they surf our bow wave or jump in the boat's wake astern.

This contest would have a special division for deceased dogs and, in this category, Vic and I have nominated our dearly departed Shadow, a lab mix who gave new meaning to the term retriever. Environmentalist that she was, Shadow would drive in the water and retrieve beer bottles and other discarded containers tossed overboard by inconsiderate slobs. If we could have outfitted her with a mask and snorkel, Shadow would have dog paddled around for hours with her head submerged and her eyes searching the bottom for discarded bottles and such. I know they make personal flotation devices for dogs. Has anybody invented a mask-and-snorkel for dogs?

Vic and I applaud all who have helped their dogs make the transition to boat dog. Spending time on the boat with your dog is good for the owners because pets, well, just smooth things out for their lucky owners no matter where they are. Most dogs grow to love the boating life. If you're going for a cruise, they say, Take Me With You. That's the way dogs are unless you're going to the vet. How do they know?

Yes, there are some things you have to do to accommodate their lifestyles, like row them in shore a couple or three times a day. But, that's a small effort for the dog love you get in return. (Lord, please help me be the person my dog thinks I am.)

Sit. Write. Speak. Think about that special canine companion of yours and all the great cruising time shared.

Good boy.

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Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W


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