Sick Dog On Board 


We love having our MollyMoo onboard. She is so excited to go for a paddle, hop in the dinghy for a ride, or run down the beach searching for (preferably dead/rotten) crabs. But what does it really mean to have your pet along for a constantly moving, adventurous lifestyle?

First, here are a few fun facts about Molly:

  • LOVES to hunt – prefers the beach
  • LOVES to eat – prefers anything smaller than her
  • LOVES to sleep – prefers Mark’s lap
  • LOVES riding with us on the sup or dinghy
  • HATES motoring
  • TOLERATES sailing  

Molly is quite a crab/frog/lizard hunter. Dachshunds were bred for digging down into holes to chase weasels, etc. She was always adept at alerting us to frogs trespassing in our pool – back during Land Life. And licking them until she foamed at the mouth…

Now that Molly is creeping on up in age (she will  be 13 in April), she is loving to lie in the sun and sleep more than ever. In fact, a good day of paddling and running on the beach can knock her out for several hours, if not an entire day or 2. 

We took her to Chat n Chill beach recently, where she proceeded to eat about 7 years worth of scraps she found in the sand. This was WHILE we were constantly following her and telling her No, etc. I can only imagine what she would have found if we had actually let her romp freely. 

The next few days, Molly clearly wasn’t feeling well. Frankly, she couldn’t poo. She was either exhausted or lethargic as well – but since she refuses to speak, we couldn’t  decide which it was. 

We had given a nice guy at Chat n Chill permission to give her some rib meat. That seemed like a much better treat than the junk she was digging up on the ground. Unfortunately, we realized as he handed it to her that it might be an actual bone with rib meat on it. Mark and I both dove for the bone, but that just made her so excited she swallowed it whole. Another fun Molly fact? She prefers not to chew.

With Molly clearly feeling bad and unable to poo, we began to fear the worst – she had eaten a small bone and it was lodged in her intestines.  This was only 2 days before we were to leave for a giant leap to Dominican Republic. Needless to say, departure was delayed. 

Let me just say, this is not the first time Molly has eaten enough food to make herself sick. She gave herself a hernia eating from a self-feeding bowl when she was less than 2 years old. That resulted in a $500 surgery and the loss of her priveledges to self-feed… We are no strangers to her gluttonous ways. 

I researched what to do if it was in fact a bone. The Mighty Google recommends we feed her bread, rice and pumpkin. Being on a semi-remote island in the Bahamas meant there was no pumpkin to be found. We made due with a diet of bread, rice, tuna and a wee bit of coconut oil. Because coconut oil fixes everything. And then we waited… 

We kept her moving and she kept eating. As long as she didn’t lose her appetite, we wanted to avoid the vet.  It took a couple of days, but she finally managed to get regular again. Thankfully we never found a bone! 

This obviously turned out about as well as possible. But what if it HAD been a bone? There was a visiting vet at a clinic in Georgetown. But the vet would have either watched and waited or performed surgery. Depending on the clinic, we may have preferred to sail back to Nassau for a larger facility/to have a full-time vet on hand. Sedation and intestinal surgery on a 13 year old dog is no joke. But would that have even been an option? If she truly had a bone stuck, we may not have had the luxury of a multi-day sail. And while she will likely never stop eating things that make her sick, it is our responsibility to keep her as safe and healthy as possible. 

While we are THRILLED to have our old girl with us, when she Goes to College, we will become a puppy-free boat for at least a while. In addition to the typical responsibility of dog ownership, being on a boat and traveling opens up a few more cans-o-worms. Or frogs, if you prefer. Each country has regulations that must be met – usually in the form of shots and fees. While Molly is healthy and up-to-date on her  vaccines, shots make her feel bad for days. (And fees make me feel bad.) At this point in her life, we just want her to be happy and feel well for as long as possible. So it is a fine line we walk regarding countries regulations and my preference to avoid any more shots. 

Another little fact about traveling with MollyMoo? When it comes to land-based activities, we are limited to day trips. While Molly is happy at home on the boat, guarding it from pirates and lounging in the sun, we obviously cannot leave her overnight. That has not been an issue to date, but let’s talk about Dominican Republic for an example of a potential snag in plans. 

One of THE main things I want to do in the DR is check out The 27 Waterfalls. I could provision cheaply, eat some local food, visit the Falls and be on my merry way to Puerto Rico. But is that even an option? I think we will have to rent a car and spend an entire day doing the Falls then rush back to the boat. This excursion requires more research, but if we have to leave her for 15+ hours, it honestly just won’t happen. So the one thing I truly want to experience in this country may be skipped. For a dog.  

I am not complaining. We will happily entertain ourselves and our pup with other adventures. I just want to make it clear that toting your animals around is not always as easy as you may think. There are definitely extenuating circumstances when traveling to foreign ports. (A cat is likely a much easier option.) Just some things to think about if you are heading out. 

We are currently pulling up to Provo in the Turks and Caicos. Obviously the Moo has recovered and is back to her frog-licking self. If you haven’t seen it yet, our latest video covers this incident and you can check it out here.

Do you have pets on-board? Have you haf any emergencies, if so? Thanks as always for reading about our adventures and feel free to chime in with a Comment below! 

  • Mark and Cindy - sv Cream Puff


    Hope you have fun in T&C. We had a blast there and stayed in Turtle Cove Marina. It was full of cruises and seemed to serve as the crossroads for east or west bound boats. Cindy still raves about the margaritas at Mango’s (in the marina). They were made with fresh lime juice.

    Glad the puppy is doing better. Safe travels to DR.

    Mark and CIndy
    sv Cream Puff

  • candy


    oh my goodness,poor Molly and ya’ll too. So glad you were able to go on with your travels. Love your writing, thanks can hardly wait for the next addition.

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