Tuesday, October 25, 2011

San Blas Islands July 31 – August 31 2011 In Loving Memory of our Beloved 'Doc' (Jan 7 2001 to July 31 2011)

In Loving Memory of our Beloved 'Doc'

 Bentley (Doc) Leno
(Jan 7 2001 to July 31 2011)

We knew this day would come, but knowing made it no easier and early on the morning of July 31st our beloved ‘Doc’, lying in our arms, crossed quietly to the Rainbow Bridge.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this expression we heard it first when someone was kind enough to send along this beautiful prose penned by Author Unknown but whose sentiments so richly struck a chord in our hearts.  I am reprinting it here with the hopes that others in our position of loss may find comfort in these words

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. 
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 

There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....


Author unknown...

Kaija and I are so thankful to our many friends whose kind words reflect their love for our little ‘Doc’.  They remind us that Doc had such a big heart seemingly filled with love for all he met and a willingness to always take part and be a part of whatever venture came our way.  There is no doubt in our minds, that entering into the Cruising Lifestyle seven years ago required by far the biggest adjustment for Doc.  But he was always happy on the boat and could find positions where he seemed to be totally relaxed, whether sleeping,

Doc just ‘a Chillin’

Learning to live afloat and spend as much time in the water meant learning to swim and be comfortable wearing his lifejacket.  It wasn’t long before he learned to swim to and from shore, sometimes pulling the dinghy behind him.

Doc in his Lifejacket


or just ‘keepin an eye’ on the world around him.

Doc enjoying a Sunset

It also included visiting strange new lands and always being needing to be on his best gentle behavior, whether walking thru small villages full of goats, sheep, chickens, pack dogs nipping at his heals meeting new cruising friends along the way or visiting well know tourist spots like this stop in St. Augustine Florida

 Doc enjoying a Sightseeing ride in St. Augustine Florida 2005

Doc began his life with us at the age of 1 ½ years being a rescue dog from the West Vancouver SPCA.  He has lived his previous life locked in a box and mistreated and in fact his name was Box.  We changed his name to Bentley and called him Doc partly because it sounded close to Box and partly in honor of a Dr. friend who discovered him.  He was quite a handful in the beginning, not understanding much about socializing, but that soon changed and with the help of a good trainer, he soon came to be the gentle and loving puppy we knew was always inside that tough exterior.  He just needed some lovin and the confidence and assurance that he had a home and would be fed and cared for. 

For those of you who have a heart for Dogs in need please visit the website www.ARFaruba.com home of our good friend Kathy of  Animal Relief Foundation Aruba.   Kathy arranges adoptions for the stray puppies and dogs of Aruba and after making sure they are healthy and ready for travel arranges flights out of Aruba to good homes in the USA, Canada as well as other countries by request.

It wasn’t long after we got Doc that during a morning walk we met the owner and Editor of the editor of Modern Dog magazine, Ms. Connie Wilson.  She asked if we would be interested in having Doc do some ‘posing’ for a photo shoot with some strikingly beautiful models for an upcoming edition of her magazine.  

It was a long day and gave me a better appreciation of a models life, basically, hurry up and wait, as cameras and lights needed constant adjusting as did the set, clothing changes, different models, and Doc took it all in stride, enjoying Pizza and all the attention he could ask for.  That was truly a fun day and beginning of so many terrific adventures with ‘Doc’.  


Pictures courtesy of Modern Dog Magazine Summer 2003

Over the years thousands of photos have been taken of Doc by us, tourists and tour boats passing by, and our friends and just strangers we would meet who enjoyed his unique form of meet and greet friendship.  From that very first shoot, he new how to 'ham it up for the cam'.

His latest modeling can be viewed on the Tilley Endurables clothing website under the caption ‘Smart Looking Sailor’,

 Doc enjoying his Tilley Hat (San Blas 2011)

  here is a line of the email received from the nice folks at Tilley

…”Thanks for the photo of your dog and his Hat - it's on www.tilleyvancouver.com, in the "true Tilley tales" section, for the world to enjoy.  Maybe you'll start a trend!”…

That was our little Doc, a trendsetter who made friends easily and allowed Kaija & me to meet many along the way that we might otherwise have not, both locals and cruisers alike who took a quick liking to Doc.

 Doc and Friends in Belize 2005

Doc had many admirers, human and all manner of creature from the animal kingdom, and most every girl, regardless of species including human, who met him lavished him with hugs and kisses.  However, during his lifetime we believe he had two real ‘heartthrob loves’.  One was a dolphin named Honey resident at Josh’s Cay, Bay Islands,

 Doc’s Special Friend Honey (Josh’s Cay, Bay Islands, Honduras  2009

Doc could swim for hours with Honey and one more than one occasion was known to tag along with her on her daily swim from Josh’s Cay to El Bite, a distance of some 3 miles. 

The other an unnamed she goat living on Isle de Saints, Guadeloupe.  And when he met this little she goat on Isle de Saints, he would sit and stare at her thru her fence and make these little soft moaning sounds. . .need I say more.  He just wanted to spend time with her. 

Doc and his Wee Special Goat Friend, Isle De Saints, Guadaloupe 2010

Doc liked kittens and puppies, animals young and old, big and small, pigs, goats and cows.  He like chasing Bulls and being chased by them.  He really enjoyed horses and dolphins.  It didn’t matter their breed or size, he loved them all!  Two of his most special moments that I was lucky enough to share with him were meeting a new born foal (pony) not much bigger than he was while the mother Mare skittishly watched.  They came nose to nose while the little foal stood shakily on his wobbly legs and Doc just seemed to enjoy his company.  This meeting took place in Luperon Dominican Republic.  And one of the truly unforgettable moments Doc and I shared was during our walk thru the jungle of Panama and coming round a bend and coming face to face with a wild Black Panther.  This beautiful creature stood no more than 50 paces away, Doc and I froze, Doc sat quietly, the Panther stood and stared, with it’s long black tail waving in the breeze, then turned and a quick as a blink, was gone into the undergrowth…it was a majical moment.  Unfortunately, I did not have a camera with me for either of those two special events but the memory will live clearly in my mind’s eye until my dying days. 

However, Doc was indeed a Rottweiler, and when he was back on the boat we was a serious guard dog, which allowed Kaija & me the comfort of the 7 years of hassle free cruising, with our companionway unlocked and our hatches open never being concerned with strangers boarding our boat while we slept.  Thanks little buddy. 

‘Doc’ keepin an eye

We could leave our boat to go ashore and be fairly certain that no stranger would attempt access while we were away.  There were those rare occasions however, when Doc decided in his own mind that he had stood guard long enough, and that perhaps dad and mom just forgot to take him along, and he would venture out on his own,  which meant ‘jumping ship’, literally, diving in the water off the boat and swimming ashore to find us.  This most recently occurred in Cartagena, when Kaija & I were ashore enjoying a lovely dinner at a very fine restaurant when a fellow cruiser came in to let us know that Doc had swum ashore, in the dark, thru the shipping channel, to the dock, climbed ashore, and was sitting waiting calmly for us to return to the Yacht Club.  This behavior was not always met with enthusiasm on our part, as Doc’s ‘job’ was to remain on the boat and be ‘en-guarde’, so I would take him back in the dinghy, put him back on-deck and tether him to remind him of his obligation.  It was never easy to stay angry with Doc for any length of time for these minor indiscretions.  He would look up at your with his big brown eyes, often with enough moistness in them to convince you he was truly sorry for disappointing you and he would try harder next time.

Doc  ‘En-Guarde’

Doc was so very easy to love and always seemed to be happy.  But there is no doubt in our minds that he was the happiest when he was running up and down some isolated beach, chasing and playing toss with a coconut, any coconut would do.  He loved being in the water, swimming was his forte, and there was seldom a time when he couldn’t beat you in a race around the boat.   He would happily don his lifejacket to join us out on the reef paddling along beside Kaija and me as we would snorkel, sometimes for hours.  And when he encountered dolphins, he was in another world.  He loved dolphins.  He could sense them long before the rest of us could and he would make this special sound that attracted them to him.  

‘Doc’ and his Dolphin buddies

But mostly, he just seemed happy to be with us, no matter what the occasion, and that was the best part of all.  What a joy to share our life with him!

'Doc &  Dad'  on the Kayak

Doc enjoying a ride in the dingy…a favorite pastime!

 Takin a break along the trail

Doc Enjoyin a swim with Mom

Lickin his lips
Waitin for a yummy treat from mom at the galley hatch

Fun on the beach with Byron & Denise s/v South of Reality, Kaija & Columbian navy friends in Albaqurque Cays, Columbia

 ‘Doc’ ridin the canon

Jane, Kaija & Doc Sailing San Blas

Doc with Angels Kathy & Maureen of Arf-Aruba

 ‘Doc’ strongly considering a big upgrade to 80’ of  Real Luxury with Lani & Mads aboard M/v Dauntless in Puerto Advantura,  Mexico

 Doc with Wendy of Dive Aruba

Gary & Doc with friends Terry & Barb Sv Wind Whisperer and Local Guide Renaldo Garcia 5 Bays Columbia

Kaija and Doc with his ‘Tilley’

For those of you who are lucky enough to have a pet that fills your heart with such gladness as our little ‘Doc’ did for us, count your blessings for all of the days and hours you share with these little wonders of God’s creation.

Happy Times with ‘Doc’

Kaija and I continue on with our life on KaijaSong, saddened for our loss, taking comfort in the knowledge that our beloved little ‘Doc’ sails on with the angels, unfettered and pain free, and is now waiting for that day, when we will cross the Rainbow Bridge together, re-united for eternity.

 “Doc” a Truly Special Friend

There is not a day goes by that we do not think about or speak of our little boy 'Doc'.  He still brings us such joy at all the funny things he did to brighten our day and lighten our load.  

Our good friend and Master Mola Maker, Lisa of Kuna Yala made a beautiful Mola for Doc and we treasure it as we treasure the wonderful memories we have of this kind and gentle spirit.

We are truly and richly Blessed!

1 comment:

Hendrik van dok said...

tears in my eyes....
What a beauty.
I am sure you will mis him.