I'm Sugar, we've met before. Some of you even wrote letters to Ted to say you also have a Jack Russell Terrier living with you. I could tell you how lucky you are, but you already know. On behalf of all Jack Russells who own boats-all dogs everywhere for that matter-let me give you a clue before we get started on the important boating issues: we know those bacon strip things aren't really bacon.
You lay a few strips next to your eggs and gobble `em down with biscuits and gravy on a Sunday morning, maybe we'll be convinced they're actually as good as the real thing. Otherwise, who do you think you're kidding? We're dogs, not dumb animals. And while we're on the subject, yes, we certainly do understand English. Better than most of you understand Dog, I'd wager (if I knew what wager was).
Now, on to the issues: If I could run this boat, believe me, I'd make some changes around here.
To start with I'd put the shore much closer to the dock. When it's time to do my business I have to get someone to hold the gate open because it only swings inward (whose idea was THAT?) Then I have to run all the way down the walkway to the shore, where anyone who wants to can watch. Then back up the walkway (just as fast as I can in case it's time to go swimming), nosing the gate open by myself because "you-know-who" is too lazy to stand there and open it for me, plus his friends think it's cute and smart. Talk about stupid pet tricks; a prairie chicken could pull this one off. Thank goodness I can keep an eye on the Jesskie from the shore, be just like him to try sneaking off without me.
Another thing, I'd get rid of the top of the Boat. How are we supposed to soak up the sunshine with the top always getting in the way? It's not like we can get up there and eat lunch or chase the ball or anything good like that. I suppose we could keep the Jesskie up there, but other than that, tops for boats are useless and detract from pure boating enjoyment. The only good thing about tops for boats is when it rains, and in that case we shouldn't be out there anyway. In fact, if there's thunder, we shouldn't be anywhere. I for one will be glad when boat design evolves to the point that tops are not even included, but knowing humans, they'll probably charge extra to leave `em off.
Since we already have the hammer out for removing the top, why not install a doggy door on the Big Boat so I can come and go as I please? Just put a fence around the lake if you're really worried about someone stealing me, just like the yard at home. Then I can do a better job of greeting anyone who comes to the dock, plus if any other dogs decide to sing some songs, hey, I'm right there. This is very do-able.
As for other changes I would make to create a better boating environment for dogs (and I think I speak for all of us), here are a few more:
Have more than one ball around. They will still be "My Ball," but with options. Have one for you to throw anytime I want. Have another one to lose like you always do (and please try to lose only that one, not the one we play with). Have one for me to guard with my life and sleep with. And get one for you to sleep with, too. Everybody's happy.
Another great idea: have a constant buffet going on this rig. Why not? We could have crackers and cheese ready all the time, plus those little sausages I like, but no tomatoes (and NO BROCCOLI, which should go without saying). You'll probably whine that there's not enough room on the boat to run a full-time buffet, but look, there's plenty of room down here on the floor. Problem solved. Let's get that going, ok?
You know, all this planning on improving the boat just gave me a terrific idea. Why not move to the Big Boat for all the time? You wouldn't have to go to work anymore, leaving me alone even when there's thunder. We'd get to swim whenever we want to, and have buffet every day, and when your friends come over with money, we could even ride the Jesskie!
Oh, another thing about that buffet-no fake bacon, either. Just trust me on this.
Until next time,
My Best from the Stern
Ted A. Thompson was our back page columnist in PDB for several years and has since retired.