By Dorie Cox; Photos by Purser Stephanie Hodges and Second Stew Shani Davies
Cleaned up and rested, 10 dogs from the Bahamas Humane Society in Nassau were enthusiastic to jump ship off M/Y Laurel and make landfall this morning, Chief Officer Wikus Botes said. They were loaded the day before and had passed the night crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the 240-foot yacht Delta. The yacht made Rybovich shipyard in West Palm Beach, Florida, at about 8:30 a.m.
“You could see the transformation; at first they were pretty scared, just lying in their crates,” Botes said of the dogs onboard. “But this morning when we put them on the dock, they were excited, not shy at all.”
Although the crossing saw relatively good conditions, the first two and a half hours were bumpy, Botes said.
“They were in the tender garage way aft; it’s not affected so much,” he said. “It’s the best place to be.”
The yacht owner called the crew just three days before for them to run a repeat of a mission they did in September to make room for dogs displaced on the northern islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco after Hurricane Dorian. That left one day to prepare and one day to pick up and travel.
The first time, the crew transported 50 dogs. This time with just 10, they were able to spend more time with each animal and even gave them all baths on the aft deck of the yacht.
The dogs, yacht guests, and crew checked through U.S. Customs and Border Protection into the U.S. together.
“We had all the puppies at Customs with their papers,” Botes said. “I called yesterday, so today they just checked them for vaccinations.”
Then the dogs were loaded for a drive to rescue facility Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Loxahatchee Groves, Florida, where they will be quarantined and, eventually, available for adoption.
The crew is making plans to do this again on future trips to the Bahamas and will work through the Bailey and Friends Foundation associated with the yacht owners’ Golisano Foundation.
“We have more people in U.S. to adopt them than in Nassau,” Botes said. “And this makes more space for dogs from Abacos.”
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.