The Exciting Adventures of Island Dogs
June 24, 2011
Living on an island with two dogs brings a lot of fun and adventures into your life. My dogs just love boating, swimming, exploring, and getting into trouble. And if they escape and run away, you never know where they will end up!
My oldest is Rocky at 10 years old, we call him "Rocky The Wonder Dog" because he is highly intelligent and has a goofy, friendly personality. He started his life in Rhode Island and hated the cold. Lucky for him I decided to move to Florida, so now he enjoys hot sunny days year round. Rocky is a Shar Pei. Shar Pei's only have one coat of fir where most dogs have two, so he shivers and shakes when the temperature drops below 70 degrees. Rocky has to live with the criticism that he is a Pit Bull, but he is not and I have to tell everyone who meets him he isn't. His friendly goofy personality usually convinces people he isn't a bad dog.
Rocky has a wife, Jada, who is also a show quality Shar Pei. She is 11 months younger than Rocky and totally opposite in personality. Jada is sweet and shy, and as the years have gone by she has become quite ornary around other dogs evidenced by the chewed up fence in my yard. As people walk by with their dogs, Jada growls and tugs on the fence which is now a mangled mess. While Jada is growling Rocky jumps and whines "come pet me", this is pretty comical. People who know the dogs will come and pet Rocky, but others pass and say I have some mean dogs, which is not true. Jada's nickname is "The Stinky Dog" because she constantly gets skin problems due to what I think is over breeding. I purchased her from a breeder in Ocala who said she was the pick of the litter but she couldn't breed her because her ears grew to big. So at 6 months old I adopted her and brought her home to Rocky who was lonely for a playmate--see them kissing in the above picture.
I let Rocky loose for a run once in a while, usually at night, and most of the time he stays out of trouble. But don't leave your door open, he will come right on in and make himself at home. He has scared the crap out of many people especially those who do not know him. My neighbor who always walked by my house and watched Jada growl and crew the fence one day walked into her kitchen to find Rocky sniffing around. She screamed and he immediately ran to her and gave her big kisses. Now they are good friends and she brings the dogs bones every time she passes my house.
Last night I took Rocky to the local tiki to visit my friends. After a while he was bored, so I let him go for a run. After lifting his leg on all the good spots, he disappeared into the darkness. After about a half hour he came back with his tongue hanging to the ground and soaking wet--the silly dog went for a swim at the beach. What a cool way to end your day! Living on an island can bring a lot of unexpected visitors too, and my dogs somehow find them all. We also have a lot of fun doing doggie things or getting in trouble, here's a few fun events that happened over their wonderful doggie life, so far.
The Winner of the Ugly Dog Contest
No, Jada did not win, she was too cute with her Harley Davidson hat and leash. The winner in the picture above was soooo ugly, he had a tongue that was a foot long with a big split in it. This contest was in Bonita Springs at the Flamingo Island Flea Market in August 2003. There were a lot of people with their ugly dogs and the new was there. The journalist for the new station thought Jada was so cute she was featured on the evening new! They showed her picture several times, she was the highlight of the news cast! Jada and I had so much fun on this Girls Day Out!
A Turtle Comes for Christmas
Christmas morning 2006 I heard Rocky outside making a ruckus and whining outside. I opened the front door and a turtle was in my front lanai, Rocky was on his tail sniffing and whining. The turtle just ignored Rocky and kept walking towards me. Now that I was there Rocky put on his "big boy pants" and started barking at the turtle. Well the turtle had enough and speeded up to the door and tried to get up onto the door landing to come in. I picked up the turtle and showed him to Rocky, he was actually scared of the turtle. These turtles are rare here, I have no idea where he came from and never saw another one again.
Didn't Know Dogs Could Climb Trees
I didn't know dogs could climb trees. I found out when Rocky was a puppy that he would climb anything to chase a wild animal after he climbed a huge tree that had fallen down to chaise a squirrel.
In the picture here the dogs and I were on Cannon Island having a nice quiet beach day. Suddenly I heard Rocky in an uproar, barking like a mad man (or should I say "mad dog"). I ran to the scene and snapped this picture with my cell phone. He climbed up a Mangrove tree and was a few feet away from a Raccoon.
It took me quite a while to get the dog to come down; he was on a mission even though the Raccoon was long gone. When Rocky came out of his psycho mode, he realized he was very high up in a tree and he had no clue how to get down!
Do Dolphins Talk to Dogs?
Rocky the Reindeer
This was Rocky dressed for the annual Isles of Capri Boat Parade. I have not been able to locate the rest of the pictures, but this one tells the story.
We entered the parade with our boat loaded with lights and decorated with stuffed animals and Christmas stockings. Rocky spent the entire parade standing on the very edge of the bow. As we passed houses people cheered to him which made him all excited with his tail wagging. The dog ate up the attention. He loved his costume never once trying to get it off. He is such a ham!
We won 1st Place for the Most Original Theme "Rocky the Reindeer".
One day we went out on my 17 foot Mako with just Rocky who took his usual position on as the mast head on the bow of the boat. We were traveling slowly on Johnson's Bay when suddenly we spotted a huge 8 foot Spotted Eagle Ray swimming. We turned the boat around and followed the stingray that must have been a female because there were two smaller stingrays stacked on her backside probably mating. We circled around a for a second look and suddenly the large ray leaped out of the water with the two smaller rays still on her back, and she flew right over Rocky's head. My friend actually got a picture of it on his cell phone because he was trying to get one of the stingray in the water. I never got a copy of the picture but it will always be in my head what a cool sight that was. And Rocky, well he went nuts when that happened, we had to hold him down to keep him from jumping in after the stingray.
What Happens When a Dog Meets a Manatee
In early July about five years ago I went with my friend and Rocky out on my boat to watch sunset on a small sand bar across from Hideaway Beach on Marco Island. They were dredging to replenish the beach and they created a large deep hole in the middle of the bay. We pulled the boat ashore and discovered a pod of about 20 or so Manatees possibly mating. My friend jumped right in to swim with the Manatees and he insisted I do the same. I was too scared to swim with tons on huge fish but not Rocky, he jumped in and swam amongst them with his "Gotta Get the Fish" look, moaning and whining the whole time.
After 15 minutes of this I asked my friend to get the dog out of the water before he drowns himself, he didn't have his life jacket on. He was so revved up, in psycho mode, so we had to tie him to the boat to catch his breath. I gave him about 10 minutes, then I put his life jacket on and let him go have some more fun swimming with the Manatees.
Rocky was on in the water a few minutes this second time and suddenly he flew through the air 10 or 15 feet! A Manatee sent him sailing with it's tail. Well that put Rocky in an even greater state of excitement and off he went to "Get the Fishy". A few more minutes passed and you would never believe it, the dog with the purple life jacket on went sailing again through the air. It was such a cool sight, but at this point it was time to get the dog out of the water before they attack or eat him. We went home with the most amazing memories that day, but without any pictures, we didn't have a camera. I did get a picture of a Manatee, see above, I took it in my backyard.
Jada the Sneaky Drunk
I will post the pictures on this story soon. Jada was a sneaky drunk one day. She was discovered alone in the living room with a can of beer between her paws, lapping away at it. I got my camera and took pictures of her efforts to drink every last drop of beer from the can. It was so funny and the pictures tell the whole story. The last picture is of Jada passing out on the couch in a stupor. I doubt if she was actually drunk from probably half a can of beer, but she sure was exhausted from her efforts.
Dogs Just Love Fishing
The dogs have always loved joining me fishing off the dock. They listen intently to the line in the water. Every time I cast, Rocky jumps and tries to catch the bait flying into the water.
But the best part of the fishing adventure is when I catch a fish. The dogs get all excited, getting in my way trying to get the fish off the hook. Once I get the fish off, I toss them against the house on the side walk then the dogs corral the fish, keeping them from squirming off. It is so much fun watching the dogs jump around nudging the fish with their snouts. Both dogs are very much aware that fish have teeth!
Dogs That Love Playing Dress Up
Were Not Arguing, Just Playing
Rocky - Rest in Peace
November 11, 2000 to June 24, 2014
Rocky was "The Wonder Dog" and he lived 13 1/2 wonder years as an Island Dog. Rocky the alpha dog's bossy presence is sorely missed in our household, he pretty much ran the show around her. Over the years he trained 3 puppies, one was Jada, the other two are my beloved boxers Jake 2 1/2 and Winston 11 months old when Rocky passed. The boxers are lost with out their leader. We all miss Rocky greatly... As you can see from the pictures, he had a great life and was a fun dog.
Jada - Rest in Peace
October 14, 2001 to September 26, 2011
I am heart broken to report Jada is no longer with us, she passed away and is greatly missed. Jada had terrible skin problems and they finally got the best of her in the end. She lived 10 wonderful years, much longer than most Shar Pei, so we feel lucky to have been blessed with her for so long.