Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For

Our newest crew member continues to grow, although not at quite the breakneck rate she was a few weeks ago. She's outgrown her little girl harness, so I've put her in one of Dyna's old harnesses. It's a touch big at the neck but I had to move it off the smallest setting around the middle. Of course, that meant she was able to wiggle her mouth under the neck piece and begin chewing.

But the really big news this week is that Dee Dee has finally mastered the ominous stairs to below and not a bit too soon. We were both feeling our backs about to reach their limit. Jeff got a blurry photo of one descent as she raced down. Once she'd done it, it became a game repeatedly going up and down.

Like so many things in life, this accomplishment has its pluses and minuses. Sure it makes nighttime simpler and we no longer have a barking puppy sitting at the top of the stairs when we go below for a bit. But think of poor Dylan.

His already small world on a boat keeps getting smaller. His only two remaining harbors of refuge are the bed as Dee Dee is still too small to get up without help. And should Dee Dee climb up unto the settee in the pilothouse she's afraid to jump back down - unfortunately, her barking is persistent enough that if she wants down, it happens fairly quickly.

Of course, there are other fascinating items she has discovered. Like the toilet paper roll. Fortunately, there were just a few sheets left.

However, the next day while we were outside messing with the lines and after I had put a new roll on, she got bored and discovered it again. She's our 4th puppy, you would think we would have this stuff down by now...

And what could be more fun than chewing Mom's slippers? I keep them on the floor beside the dresser - well, I used to anyway.

So as items are cleared away and placed high in the staterooms, we still manage to beam with pride as our little girl grows up. As for Dylan, he thought it was just fine when Dee Dee was stuck at the top of the stairs.

Poor Dylan.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

40+ Pounds

I have to start by saying that this has been a tough week for our littlest crew member. Not only has she had the ongoing pressure of learning how to become a 2nd Mate, she has been dealing with losing her puppy teeth and dealing with an ear infection.

Last week Dee Dee began losing her canines followed by her molars. She has gaping holes along with red, sore, and even bleeding gums. Eating has been challenging, so I've been soaking her food a bit longer, and we've had to limit her to only the softest treats.

Then Thursday night she woke us up whining and scratching and rubbing her ears. We turned on the light to discover red, sore, and scabby ears. I always feel terrible that I hadn't noticed it sooner.

Fortunately, we received an email the night before from Jan and Bob on Jan's Tern that they were in the marina and had a car if we needed it. So Friday morning we were off to the vet with Jan as the chauffeur. The veterinarian determined that Dee Dee had a combination fugal and bacterial infection. We are now administering drugs day and night and she is on the mend.

Of course, while we were there we put her on the scale. OK, I know it's not polite to discuss a girl's weight in public but she now weighs over 40 pounds. 40 pounds and I am still carrying her below every night. Something had to change. Dee Dee needed to go to stairs boot camp!

She had mastered going up the four pilothouse stairs a week ago. For the past several days she has been climbing the 10 stairs up from below in the mornings. Yesterday she conquered going down the pilothouse stairs which has now pretty much eliminated any secure escape that Dylan had. But climbing down the stairs to below...she won't even consider it.

I know they're steep and I know they have a turn part way down. But geez, she weighs 40+ pounds and there is a treat when she gets down there. Come on, Dee Dee, can't we just try?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Around the Block

After our last blog entry we received questions about "around the block."  What the heck is that. Around the block started with our first 1st Mate, Tucker. It's part of our hourly engine room check routine.

Every hour we do an engine room check.  We trade off with me doing a visual check one hour and Jeff doing a more thorough check the next inside the engine room. Part of Jeff's check is to go out on the cockpit to feel for vibration, check the fuel vents on the outer sides of the hull, and continue up to the bow where, unless it's rough or raining, there's some playtime with the canine crew.

Tucker quickly learned the sound of Jeff coming up from the engine room and would run to the top of the stairs where he would wait until Jeff closed the hatch and said, "Let's go around the block." He would then leap down all four stairs and out the salon door to the cockpit. Step stools kept on the port and starboard sides let him stand to look over the caprail. Of course, if we were offshore or down south it was also a time to watch for dolphins.

Dyna and Dylan did this together for many years with each jockeying for the best part on the step stool. In her last months Dyna would often forego the cockpit portion and simply join them as they came past the pilothouse door. She wasn't going to miss playtime.

Dee Dee is in her apprenticeship and has quickly learned to wait at the stairs with Dylan. She can't climb down the stairs and at nearly 40 pounds, it's too dangerous to carry her down especially while underway. We've been working on that...

So now she sits and watches to see which side of the boat they will come up and runs to that door in the pilothouse. We often have the doors cracked partially open for a breeze and she can squeeze through. That's becoming more challenging as she gets bigger but she's determined to join them on the bow for at least part of the "around the block" experience.

It's good to see her take her job seriously. She just may make it to 2nd Mate status after all.