Laura of the High Seas

As promised, what lies below is a follow-up piece written by Laura of the High Seas, known to most normal human beings as, Laura Mushrush O'Shurak Werner. If you recall, we left off last time with a looming unanswered question of utmost importance. If you do not remember I shall give you a brief summary. Stop it. I can and WILL search for the brevity button.

Laura appeared in this column space a few weeks ago with an introductory saga about her life as first mate on a sailboat, alongside her captain husband, Hans. We were told of their adventures including, but not limited to, becoming acclimated to dwelling on a seagoing vessel with a dog named Wilbur in tow.

Wilbur's bodily functions piqued the curiosity of many an area reader. Therefore, Laura has returned to page 3 so that she may impart the particulars of such shenanigans.

I'm done. Aren't you proud? I barely bloviated, had no time to digress and didn't even utilize parenthesis. I must check my vital statistics.

“Wilbur's porta potty”

When we decided to move onto our boat, a dog was the last thing we thought would accompany us.

I'm sure Wilbur didn't anticipate moving onto a boat either, and so became yet one more poor, exploited pit bull.

"Oh what the heck!" we said, "All you need to train a dog to go potty on a boat is a piece of AstroTurf." So off to Petco I went where I bought a very expensive item called The Potty Patch. PETS LOVE IT!! I was promised, and their proof; plastered across the front of the box, a huge picture of a smug looking, little, ankle biter going tinkle all over their bright green product.

Oh, we were so naive.

In the stern (rear) and right beside the captain’s seat, our boat afforded the perfect location for The Potty Patch, since if Wilbur ever deigned to use it, his waste could be very easily disposed of by sliding The Patch overboard for a good rinsing. But even though I saturated it with some sort of chemical that was supposed to make dogs want to go potty on it, Wilbur completely ignored The Patch, and we were forced to take him to shore where he sometimes did his business and sometimes he didn't.

Our first week on the boat was trying, to say the least. In addition to nasty weather, dead batteries (we didn't have solar or wind power yet), no refrigeration, and a faulty water pump, Wilbur, instead of 'going' on shore, had an attack of explosive diarrhea in his crate.

Note: I was very disappointed to discover that dragging dirty laundry behind a moving boat does not get it clean as promised in the many sailing articles I'd read!

I was not handling a 'stopped up' puppy along with the horrendous summer heat and humidity (without so much as a fan on board) very well, and hoping to avoid what was sure to be a nasty mutiny, Hans asked if perhaps he should utilize The Potty Patch in hope that Wilbur would catch on. Believe me, he didn't need to ask me twice.

Wilbur was riveted with interest as he watched Hans and to our absolute shock proceeded to immediately go piddle on The Patch.

I kid you not!

And winning an Academy Award can't even begin to compare with the elation we felt the day Wilbur finally did #2 on his Potty Patch, an act that took a while longer for him to accomplish since for some reason Hans drew the line at demonstrating that particular bodily function.

Tons of cheers and biscuits ensued and then there was no stopping him; Wilbur became a waste output machine. There were times he would run to the back of the boat, we'd yank out The Potty Patch, and after barely squeezing out a couple of drops, he'd be in the companionway begging for his biscuit.

Not a stupid dog.

But the icing on the cake (so to speak) was the day Hans and I 'missed the boat' (pun intended) and Wilbur ended up taking matters into his own paws.

I was in the galley whipping up another gourmet delight (hoping the eggs hadn't gone bad and wondering where the heck I'd put the powdered milk) and Hans was busy at the helm studying the chart plotter when I looked up and saw a recently used Potty Patch lying in a rumpled mess beside the captains seat.

That's when we realized that Wilbur, tired of waiting for us, had gone back to the stern and with his teeth, pulled The Potty Patch from where it was hanging, tossed it onto the deck, and used it.

We actually witnessed him perform this feat a second time so we knew we weren't nuts and that it wasn't just a dream.

In the end it only took Wilbur a week to catch on and after talking to other sailors we now realize how lucky we are. One man told us they had to take their dog ashore every morning and night for ten years! Another said his dog will go #1 on board but not #2 and we became the envy of the salty dog community.

When we came back home in order to finalize putting stuff into storage and getting rid of the rest, we were worried that Wilbur would regress and not remember how to use The Patch when we moved back on board. We ended up putting it on the back deck of our tiny apartment and he faithfully kept up with the program.

But here's the kicker!

One night I looked outside to see Wilbur having a massive struggle with The Patch. Using his paws and nose, he was pushing and shoving it toward the edge of the deck where half of it was already over the side. I ran out to stop him and, sonofagun! he'd used The Patch and tired of waiting for me to clean it up, he was trying to dispose of it by tossing it over the side just like he'd watched us do it on the boat!

Next week he's taking his PSAT's and we're hoping for a full scholarship to Harvard.