The Block Island Times

Sailor earns his name

By J. V. Houlihan, Jr. | Jan 31, 2013
Photo by: J.V.Houlihan, Jr. Sailor: calm before the storm

It was a dark and stormy night, when this picture was taken of the intrepid canine Tommy aka Sailor. When we adopted Tommy a year ago, we started calling him Tommy the Sailor. (I didn't think ending his name with a consonant rather than a vowl, would twist him up too much.) Now we call him Sailor, and he doesn't answer to either name. He takes after his aloof brother, Mac the Scotty, who  just won't pay attention to us; he's simply not trainable. Don't get me wrong, these guys will charm a treat out of you, but it's nothing personal. Note my Thanksgiving blog, and see how adorable these guys are when they are looking at the turkey.

   Last night I needed to go check the lines on our sailboat in Newport because of the impending storm from the south. So I figured I'd bring Sailor along and stay aboard to keep an eye on things. The marina where we dock our boat in the winter gets worked pretty hard with winds above thirty knots; they were calling for gusts of fifty-five. It was going to be an interesting evening and Sailor would  have a chance to live up to his name.

   We got to the boat around dusk. The winds were increasing and the docks were rocking. Upon getting to the boat, Sailor plopped himself smack down on the rolling dock. This body language, along with the sub-text in his eyes basically said, "I ain't goin dad, noooooo way, please!!!" His body weight doubled when he plopped. As gingerly as possible I coaxed and lifted Sailor onto the heaving deck of the boat, and then he scooted into the cockpit. Getting him into the cabin involved more coaxing, cajoling and carrying, but we did it, another small victory!

   Once we got settled, Sailor was looking at me and probably thinking, "How did I end up here on a night like this? Shouldn't I be home, sitting on the couch with my brother Mac, keeping an eye on things and barking at noises? And where am I going to sleep!? And where's my bowl!?" Sailor resigned himself to the fact, that he would spend the night on a rocking and rolling sailboat, tied to a dock in Newport. After a few minutes, he settled himself down beneath the cabin table. Snap.

   Two hours later I took Sailor for a walk around town so he could get a snootful of  things. He was having fun now, charging sprightly along Thames Street being a cool Alpha dog. An hour later we headed back to the boat. There were a bunch of guys roaming the docks and checking the lines, chafing gear and bumpers on their boats. The wind was steadily increasing. I made sure our boat was secure and we prepared to go aboard, again. Sailor did the same drill: plopped, doubled his body weight, and looked at me with those mournful eyes.

   The night passed uneventfully with the strongest winds starting at daybreak. Down in the cabin there was quite a bit of movement but Sailor just stayed stretched out and slept at the foot of my bunk. When this dog goes to sleep, he's out like a light. Cindy and I swear that he sleeps sometimes sitting and standing up. We look into his eyes, and there just isn't anyone home. It's a hilarious thing to witness. We got off the boat after I had a cup of coffee and Sailor ate his breakfast, then we headed over to Fort Adams for a morning walk. Sailor, the dog formerly known as Tommy, rose to the occasion of staying aboard a pitching sailboat on a dark and stormy night and that is how Sailor earned his name.




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