Yesterday, I half-seriously compiled a tropical island survival kit — OK, maybe less than half-serious — and made a very obvious omission that was brought to my attention this morning while I was walking Moppit, our dog.
“A dog,” said our friend Cheryl Taylor Bowen. “You should include a dog in your survival kit.”
I looked down at Moppit.
I looked up at Cheryl.
Down at Moppit.
Up at Cheryl.
“Yeah! Of course! What was I thinking?” I said rhetorically. And rather sheepishly.
Of course, a dog. Every island survival kit should include a dog.
“And people can ‘rent’ one from Saga,” added Cheryl. “They need dog walkers all the time.”
Brilliant. Saga is the local humane society.
Island dogs are great social facilitators. Rarely does a day go by when some visitor doesn’t stop to pet Moppit and mention how badly they miss their own dog(s). Moppit, being Moppit, will often walk up to a stranger expectantly with the “You may begin petting me now” look on her face. Never fails. She will curl up on a stranger’s feet, like a cat, if the petting is especially good.
Sometimes I joke, “Couple more minute of this and you will own her.” Sometimes I’ll say she can be rented out to people who clearly are missing their canine fix.
Funny, funny me.
In the future, I will let people know that Saga can always use dog walkers. I wouldn’t be surprised if some island visitors take me up on the suggestion.
An island dog has so many benefits.
- You get to think about someone else besides yourself.
- You get good exercise, taking your dog for walks several times a day.
- You drink less because you have to get home to feed your dog or let it out for one last walk before bedtime.
- As previously noted, dogs are great socializers. Socially awkward people, like myself, can walk into a beach bar and quickly make friends with other dog owners, while the dogs lope in circles sniffing each other’s butts. Moppit knows more people on this island than I do.
- You have a built-in excuse to not go out at night: “My dog needs me.”
- Seeing the world through a dog’s eyes makes you more human.
- If you adopt a rescue dog, your heart immediately swells 8 percent and pumps fresher, more-oxygenated blood through your veins giving you a euphoric glow because — well, because you did good and saved a life and now you have a companion.
- Dogs can be protective, a built-in home security device that sort of talks to you.
- In summary, dogs just make you a better person. Also, healthier and happier.
And that’s about all I’ve got to say on that subject.
What’s in your tropical island survival kit?