Godspeed, Sailor

Fri, 01/07/2022 - 7:45am

One day my wife Cindy came home from work and said something regarding a man she was helping with the work she does as a family caregiver. What she said got my wheels turning on the quick step; hers had been already turning - they always are in regards to practicality,
wants and needs.
“I don’t know what will happen to this poor dog Tommy when his master’s gone,” said my wife, “he’ll be lost, he hardly ever leaves the man’s side.”
“Well, seeing that Mac (our Scottie) is slowing down a bit these days, maybe we can adopt him if it plays out that way,” I said. “Let’s at
least give the dog a shot to how he and Mac get along.”

Shortly thereafter the dog’s master moved along and Cindy brought this affectionate cockapoo down to the ferry docks to meet me. I was
curious to see what this dog looked and acted like, but my real concern was would he survive the ride from Quonochontaug with Mac, who was the most thick-headed and tough little dog I’d ever seen in my life; Mac was a full on alpha dude and was fearless to a fault. Cindy rolled
up to the car shack at the ferry dock, and she said, “Say hi to Tommy.” As my wife recalls it was instantaneous that she could see by the look on my face that this dog was moving in with us. It was a done deal, and we were now all in. However, I did ask Cindy how Mac behaved during the ride from Quonnie, and she said that Mac was fine and was just being his aloof self as he was wont to be. (It’s a Scottie thing.)
Tommy the cockapoo, who had lost his master, had found a new home. It was a seamless transition.
Tommy was a loyal companion to the man my wife had been taking care of for two years. For eight years since he was a puppy - as stated earlier - this good boy would hardly ever leave the man’s side. Now, here was this guy moving into a new place with two wacky adult humans and a tenacious Scottish terrier who basically ran the household. Furthermore, Mac was a Scottie you simply didn’t want to cross. Period. Tommy must’ve sensed this on the ride from Quonnie that day, and knew he would need to be respectful of Mac’s domain and his rules. As things turned out, Mac and Tommy became fast friends and basically became a couple of little thugs in the neighborhood. For example, when Cindy took them for their walks around our place in Wakefield they would both roll with a bantam rooster strut; Tommy was becoming a Dude with some ‘tude under Mac’s streetwise guidance. They were becoming a couple of characters and it was hilarious watching Tommy becoming an assertive dog. While walking at Tuckertown Park, I could let him run off leash and he’d go tearing around sniffing and snorting while being a full-on dog and showing me how cool he was. All I had to do to get him back to the truck was turn my back and he’d come running to me. He was becoming a Dude, kind of.
As the sailing season arrived that year, I got it in my head to change Tommy’s name to Sailor. I always wanted to have a dog named Sailor and being a guy with a sailboat I tossed out the idea to my wife. Cindy didn’t care; neither did Tommy because all Tommy or Sailor wanted was to be with Cindy, me, and Mac. It was an easy sell, so Sailor became his handle; however, there was a one little hitch; Sailor didn’t like sailing that much and the first time I took him was noteworthy to his position on the matter. When the big day came to take my boyo for his first sail, we walked down the dock to our boat. As I was coaxing Sailor to hop aboard, he dropped to the dock and became dead weight.
He would not budge.
As I wrangled him onto the rail and into the cockpit I was thinking that this looks like doggie harassment. I prayed no one saw me. Some did, but they thought it was cute and that I was not a bad guy. As we sailed out of Newport Harbor and south toward Beavertail on Jamestown, I started to feel like a bad guy. Sailor sat next to me with a look on his face that basically said that he didn’t sign up for this and that he’d rather chase squirrels with Mac at the park. I took his cue and headed Reverie downwind and back to calm water. Sailor ended up sailing a few times, and he would sometimes stay on the boat with me some nights when I was writing. He was fine with being at the dock and not bashing to windward off Castle Hill.

A couple of years after we adopted Sailor our Scottie Mac passed away. Subsequently, over the past ten years that Sailor was in our charge we had adopted three other tough and formidable terriers. Sailor learned to hang tough with each of these dogs and he got along fine with all of them. As the years rolled by all of our other dogs had moved along. Subsequently, Sailor was the last man standing. He became the dog he was supposed to become. On December 28, 2021 we had decided it was time to let our ailing Sailor go. He was 17 years old - 84 in human years - and Cindy, myself and Sailor all knew it was time. Cindy played Kate Taylor’s beautiful rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” for Sailor as he drifted across the Rainbow Bar. This was a brutal loss; however, as life would have it there was a silver lining and it came in the form of a golden retriever named Frankie. We had decided to dog-sit a friend’s dog while her family was in Italy. Frankie and Sailor got on fine.
The day we let Sailor go, Frankie the retriever was taken to run at the Charlestown Dog Park, check the sailboat, and end the day with a serious run at Fort Adams.

Cindy has walked Frankie at the beach and around Galilee for the past couple of weeks. This dog has taken the sting out of losing Sailor and I felt lifted as my wife would walk by the ferry around Sailor’s old stomping grounds. She told me that on one of their walks, Frankie stopped in front of the DEM building which was Sailor’s favorite place, and the dog sat, and just looked right in my wife’s eyes as if letting her know that things will be okay. Finally, we’ll miss and grieve Sailor, and eventually another dog will find us; it’s how life works if we let it. Godspeed, Sailor, you were the best and we’ll miss you.
‘Nuff said.