Friday, May 20, 2011

Moishe, Our Dog

The smallest member of our little family is our dog, Moishe. He is half French Bulldog (my favorite breed) and half Dachshund (commonly known as a weiner dog). This odd-looking combination of breeds is affectionately called a “Bullweinee.” The name Moishe is the Yiddish nickname for Moses, and much like the famous biblical character, our little Moishe was adopted, although we didn’t find him floating down a river in a basket. We found him sitting in a smelly cage at PetSmart. At the time, he was covered in Demodectic Mange, which we thought only added to his character. We had had our eye on Moishe for quite some time. We would go to PetSmart once, sometimes twice, a week and look at all the animals that were up for adoption. Week after week, Moishe was there (although his name was Jean Luc at the time). He seemed like the perfect dog, but once we decided that we wanted him, we realized that we were about to head out of town for a few days. We decided that we’d head back to PetSmart after we returned from our trip, and if he was still there, we’d adopt him. We stuck to our plan and returned to PetSmart later that week to claim our new family member. Our timing was perfect, as they accepted our application just moments before another couple (and their 6 year old kid who had a sticker on her face) put in their application for Moishe. We like to think we rescued Moishe twice: once from PetSmart and then again from the girl with a sticker on her face.

We have grown extremely attached to our little dog, so we’ll be sad to see him go once we make the move to a boat. Hey, you can’t keep everything, right? Kidding! That was a joke. We love our dog and he will of course be coming with us. He already meets a very important boat requirement: he is small and will not be getting any bigger (well, maybe fatter).

Dogs on a boat are great for a lot of reasons (the entertainment factor is always nice, plus we can trust him to dispose of critters that might find their way aboard), but boat living with a dog will also present some challenges, like, where do they do their business? Hopefully not on our teak deck! While we are docked at the marina, life for Moishe will not be much different than his current life in our townhouse. Currently, we don’t have a doggy door leading to a fenced in yard, and we will obviously not have one on a boat. Just like now, Moishe will need to be taken out for walks and to go to the bathroom. Thankfully, the marina we are looking at is located around the corner from a popular dog park, as well as by a walking trail. If anything, the new location will be an improvement. Only when we are at sea will accommodations need to be made. One of our upcoming purchases will absolutely be the Indoor Dog Restroom (although Moishe’s will be located on deck). This will provide Moishe with a familiar-looking spot to use while at sea, and will save Eric and me from constantly having to scoop poop from places we’d rather it not be. I like this much better than the solution my dad came up with, which was to dangle Moishe over the water 2-3 times a day and hope for the best.

Moishe’s safety is of course another concern (which is why we will not to use the dangle technique described above). Moishe doesn’t have a swimmer’s body (a nice way of saying he has stumps for legs), which means trouble if he were to ever fall overboard. To protect him, we got him a life vest:

It isn't his favorite (as the position of his tail and ears gives away), but with the life jacket, he is able to keep his head above water and paddle towards safety, albeit not particularly quickly. There is no doubt that, without the life jacket, he would sink like a stone. The life jacket is also bright, much unlike his dark coat, so we could easily spot him in the water if he did happen to fall in.

We also realized that Moishe's water bowl would be a problem on the boat. A water bowl would spill whenever the boat is moving at sea, and within the smaller confines of the boat, it is far more likely that we would accidentally kick it over when moving around than is the case in our house. Our solution was to replace Moishe's water bowl with a giant ball-valve water bottle, the kind that gerbils use. Right now, it is attached to Moishe's crate, which will not be coming onto the boat with us. When we move aboard, we will buy a nice teak wall mounting for the water bottle, providing Moishe with the luxury that he craves. We were initially worried that it would take Moishe awhile to get used to the bottle, but he caught on right away (thirst will do that, I suppose). Take a look at him at work:

All in all, our tiny Moishe has no idea of the adventures that await him (we certainly don't), but we are already finding ways to accommodate our little stump-legged friend.

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