In Memory of Nita, the Boat Dog

In 1995, AAS was phoned, as we are almost daily, about a dog that was being treated very cruelly.  The SPCA had been called many times, but always said as long as she has food, water, and shelter, it was not cruelty.  Read and judge...

Nita was kept in a the tiny metal cabin of a small boat that was moored in Surrey.  She had been there for about six months, from the time she was quite young.  She had been purchased from the Surrey SPCA as her owner constantly told everyone who commented on his dog's misey, saying, "The SPCA sold her to me and they don't see anything wrong with this, so &*%# off and mind your own business!

She was fed, watered, and roughly taken out for few minutes every other day, and then roughly put back into her tiny rolling prison, back into her urine and feces.  She cried almost constantly, begging for the help that never came...not from the SPCA anyway.

As usual, a brave woman did what the SPCA would not do, and removed Nita.  Yes, she broke and entered.  Yes, she stole property.  Just like at least one woman does every night of the year in BC, if not more often.

AAS took her of course, and found her the home the SPCA should have found for her, but as it only sold dogs, not rehomed them, it did not matter to them if the purchaser was a cruel or not.

The lovely irony of this is that Nita, so terrified of boats that she cringed and cowered, ended up on a boat again, but this time as the First, and Dearly Beloved, Mate, on Eric and Ann Hansen's boat, the the Dana L, a 30' sailboat.

Here is Nita's Happy Ending in Eric and Ann's words....


January 1996: Nita on the day we got her

We  saw a picture in North Shore News in mid-December 1995 of a yellow Lab cross about 18 months old. AAS came and met us, and we passed inspection and soon we were told we could meet her at Marine Drive Vet, where she recently had been spayed. We both fell in love with her and gladly brought her home. We named her Nita and she quickly adjusted to her new name.

It took several months to gain Nita's complete trust and confidence and it took many trips to our sailboat before we could get her to go aboard.  Then suddenly one day while she was delightfully distracted, we walked her down the ramp and out to the boat and hoisted her aboard before she realized where she was.  From then on she had many trips on our boat and became a good sailor, mostly dozing until we said, "Ready Nita," at which point she made ready to change sides as we tacked.  She had her own hat for the sun and coat for the cold.  Whenever anyone got into the dinghy, she was ready to go and she liked to stand at the bow for a better look. 

August 1997

August 1998: Look at the way Nita is being touched...

Nita quickly became a member of our family and participated in all that we did.  She had her own kennel, her refuge, that she slept in and she had her own space in the rear of the SUV. When traveling, our belongings were jammed into the back seat and Nita had the rear area to herself.  She was happy as long as she was with us.  Nita loved to eat, particularly “people food” and she loved raw broccoli and Caesar salad.  She knew that she always got leftovers and if dinner went on too long, she spoke up with a low rumbling growl to remind us that we’d forgotten her. Or if she thought we were ignoring her, she poked a head under our elbow or put her nose on the edge of the table and talked.  She loved her raw food but her favourite was the beef tripe and she became quite vocal when the package was opened for her dinner.

In my business I traveled around B.C. twice a year and Nita traveled with me on every trip. She became a great traveling companion and we visited many rest stops and roadside streams so she could have a good run.  We decided that her other half had to be part greyhound because she loved to run and could outrun most other dogs we met.  She checked out the new smells in the motel rooms and once her mat was put on the floor she knew we were staying.  One of her favourite spots was at the bottom of Pemberton where there is lots of running space; her daily routine was not complete until we visited it in the morning and again at night.

Unexpectedly Nita was diagnosed with cancer of the spleen in April of this year.  Her spleen was removed and she seemed to be back to her old self within a short time.  She enjoyed another summer of sailing and traveling.  Unfortunately the cancer reoccurred and we had to put our dear companion to sleep on October 21st.  We are grateful for the unquestioning love and companionship she gave us for the last eight years of her life and we miss her very much.


Erik and Ann Hansen


Nita, June 2002

"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include
all living things, man will not himself find peace." Albert Schweitzer 1875 - 1965

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