"Is dat a rabbit?"
25 March 2016 | Green Island, Antigua
Tiffany Hodgson/partly cloudy
Cruising with a dog has its own sets of challenges and rewards. The challenges for us are about making sure we have the proper paperwork for each country and import permit if required, getting Jacques ashore to do his business and exercise several times a day, keeping him out of the heat, keeping him happy and healthy, and protecting him from unleashed island dogs. Our rewards are getting to meet more people (he is a GREAT ice breaker), especially with the local kids, getting out to see the islands in a different way, and he is great companionship for us. Because he does not resemble the local dogs, we get a lot of questions about him. Usually the first is, "what kind of dog is that?" French bulldogs are not ideal tropical dogs do to their short snouts, which makes regulating their body temperature more difficult. I started Jacques time aboard with "shooing" him into the shade anytime the sun was out. Silly me, Jacques is much smarter than I give him credit for. He AUTOMATICALLY finds the shade without our prompting. He has even been using the cooling mat we bought for him 7 years ago that he wouldn't touch at home.
While in Jost Van Dyke, we were followed by several school kids who were very interested in Jacques. They typically do not see dogs on leashes being walked, so this was a novelty. We did a bit of educating on how to approach a dog, how to allow them to sniff you before you put your hands on them, how to walk a dog on a leash, etc. A memorable moment for us was when one young boy asked me what the plastic holder was on the end of Jacques leash. I replied, "it holds plastic bags so we can pick up Jacques' poop." This was received with lots of giggles!
The farther south we sail, the more unusual Jacques looks. "Is dat a rabbit? Bring him over here." We have heard on two occasions in Antigua, which makes me wonder what kind of rabbits they have on island.