Since Moishe couldn’t prepare himself for what he didn’t know was coming, Eric and I took steps to ensure Moishe's transition onto the boat was smooth. Before leaving, we needed to train Moishe on how to “do his business” while at sea. Based on extensive Internet research, we learned that, in no time at all, dogs can be easily trained to relieve themselves on a fake grass patch, piddle pad, or old rug. We had high hopes for our little Moishe. After all, he routinely spites us by urinating on all sorts of household objects; we figured he’d enjoy the opportunity to pee on something new.
Prior to leaving Kentucky, we set up Moishe’s artificial grass patch on our kitchen floor (a Moishe hot spot for showcasing displeasure). When it came time to “go outside,” we walked him into the kitchen and onto the artificial turf. Much to our surprise, Moishe walked onto the turf, sat down, and glared at us with contempt. When this look failed to prompt us to take him to the real outside, he resulted to emotional manipulation. First, he unleashed his trademark puppy dog eyes. The second he glanced at me with them, my eyes began to fill with tears, and my heart began to break. Next, Moishe hit me with a ruthless double blow, followed by a TKO: he slowly slumped down onto the turf, rested his chin upon his crossed paws, and let out a deep sigh – all the while maintaining eye contact with me. At this point, I apologized to him profusely, picked him up, and escorted him to his favorite outdoor spot.
Pee-pad training continued unsuccessfully over the next several days. We did everything we could to encourage Moishe to use his fake grass patch –and by everything, I mean everything. Eric peed on the patch. I peed on the patch. We collected Moishe’s own pee in a cup and then poured it on the patch (thankfully, we were moving, so we didn't care what this looked like to our neighbors). All attempts to entice Moishe to use the patch produced the same, nauseating result: Moishe lapping up whatever urine happened to be on the pad. Mutual stares of disgust and contempt were exchanged throughout the entire process, by all parties involved.
When it came time to board Sea Gem, Moishe was no closer to being trained to pee on the pad than he was before we got it; however, we firmly believed that once on the boat, with no other options, Moishe would instinctively know what to do. We were wrong. Even while at sea, Moishe refused to use the turf.
After hours had passed since Moishe's last bathroom break, something magical happened. A rough storm hit us. For his safety, I sent Moishe down below. As the boat heeled from the rough winds, Moishe became displeased. He cried out for us, but no one answered. Ignored, Moishe began to seethe with rage as he sat isolated, below deck.
Once Eric maneuvered us safely through the storm, he turned to me and said something already weighing on my mind, “I wonder what sorts of bodily fluids Moishe has left for us down below?” As Commander of the ship, I took it upon myself to investigate. I opened the hatch and discovered little Moishe looking up at me with a devilish grin. As I stepped below, I was slapped in the face by the pungent stench of dog urine. Little did Moishe know, I was secretly pleased by his “accident.” Thankfully, Moishe was gracious enough to have avoided my beloved rug; instead opting to pee in a much more poetic location: our “Welcome Aboard” doormat:
Despite Moishe being unable to successfully climb the pee pad’s steep learning curve, he was able to relieve himself during the journey (thankfully only on the parts of the boat we can hose off).
The rest of Moishe’s first sea journey went off without a hitch. Although, I caught him looking a bit uncertain a few times, as the voyage continued, he began to feel at home.
Here are some Moishe moments from the trip: