On July 24, 2013, our wonderful dog Daisy Doodle died. You can read about her here. At first we didn’t know if we would get another dog while living aboard the boat. However, after realizing that Daisy was a big part of all of our cruising adventures, we decided to start looking for a puppy. We visited the local animal shelter and most of the dogs were pit bull mixes. Nearby rescues didn’t have any Goldendoodle puppies available. Eventually we found a breeder in Florida, Moss Creek Goldendoodles. We called Kelli, the owner, and she told us there were two puppies available. We found out later that this is highly unusual since most of their puppies are taken before the litters are even born. They do temperament testing on the puppies at six weeks and as soon as she had done this, she chose which puppy would be best for our living conditions. The other available puppy went to a family with children. We wanted to give him a nautical name and chose Sailor.
We got to see him when he was eight weeks old. Moss Creek does not allow visitors until then because they are worried about the puppies getting Parvo. We fell in love but did not take him home right away. We decided to leave him there for another month to live with a trainer and attend “Boot Camp.” When we picked him up on September 7th he was very calm and well behaved. He was housebroken, walked nicely on a loose leash, was on a schedule that matched ours, was crate trained, and knew the basic obedience commands. He sits for everything: before he eats, before he goes outside or comes in, when someone wants to pet him during his walks, before he goes in his crate, etc.
Of course, a very important thing for a boat dog to learn is to “go potty” on the deck. Daisy would never do this. It’s rarely needed as we can almost always take him for walks ashore, but there are times when we must sail overnight or can’t get ashore due to weather or not finding a beach near an anchorage. Sailor was already trained to ring a bell when he needed to go outside. We took him on his leash to the front of the boat where we had placed a piece of artificial grass on one of the trampolines. By the end of the first day, he was “going” there. We also take him for four walks a day, after each meal and before he goes to sleep at night. In between, he uses the boat, since puppies “go” a lot.
Sailor is turning out to be more than we hoped for in a new member of our family. We will always miss Daisy but are so happy to have Sailor onboard with us.