I don’t remember the year, but it must have been the mid-sixties. I was working at The Ponte Vedra Inn and Club. For some reason, my boss and mentor, Ebbie LeMaster, decided his family should have a Blue Dachshund. He started a search and found a breeder in New Orleans. It so happened that I was going to be in New Orleans for a sales convention/conference about the time the puppy, who did not have a clue, was to begin an adventure to a new home.
Arrangements were made. I was to meet the breeder at the New Orleans airport. She handed me a pet carry crate with an obviously frightened, very cute puppy.
Delta would not allow the puppy in the cabin. Even today it would be hard to convince anyone he was a comfort dog. I had no choice but to check my new ward (unnamed puppy) to be checked into Atlanta as “live animal luggage.” The puppy made it and we met once again at luggage claim. Two busy airports before noon.
Our next flight was to Savannah/Hilton Head, but first I needed to find a place for the puppy to relieve himself and drink some water.
I had decided since we were traveling halfway across the country together, we needed to be on a first-name basis. That, of course, required giving him a name. I debated with myself over “Blue” or “Podna.” I had a friend who used to say, “He ain’t much of a podna, but he’s the only podna I got.” I settled on “Blue,” knowing the LeMaster family would give him his permanent name.
Finding even a bit of grass was near impossible at the Atlanta airport, but I did find some shrubbery that seemed to give Blue the privacy he needed.
Anyway, we made our next flight to Savannah /Hilton Head. On this short flight and much smaller aircraft, I was allowed to keep my new friend in my lap. He attracted attention like “bees to honey.” He would look at me as if to say, “Where are you taking me and why?” Little did he know there was another full day of travel in store, but a life of luxury at the end.
At the much smaller Savannah airport while waiting on my ride, I bought two hot dogs, one for me and one for him–hold the mustard on his. I found a quiet grassy area where I could take him out to walk around and eat a bit of the wiener. A wiener dog eating a wiener–seemed funny at the time, but he seemed to like it.
Now here is where things took a different turn. So far, since Blue and I had partnered up, we had been in airports and airplanes. Now things changed from air travel at 30,000 feet to sea level. Ebbie had kept his boat (a 38-foot sports fisherman) at Harbor Town on Hilton Head Island, but was ready to take it back down the Intracoastal Waterway to Jacksonville Beach and Ponte Vedra.
By the time we got to Harbor Town, it was early afternoon, but off we went to make it to the Thunder Bolt Marina, south of Savannah, for the night. The puppy now had proper puppy food and water. I guess you could say we had bonded because he would not let me out of his sight. A long day for me, but it must have been exhausting and probably terrifying for Blue. He was not happy on his first night away from Mom, and would not settle down unless in my bed. Even at that, neither of us got much sleep.
At first light we were off again on what would be a 3-hour interstate highway drive, but more like 8 hours by boat. We arrived in late afternoon with the LeMaster family waiting on the dock.
That dog turned out to be a fierce little fellow who felt it his duty to check out every visitor with a few vicious-sounding barks–every visitor that is, except me. He never forgot me and even though I had taken him away from his mother, I had brought him to a good family and an oceanfront home with a beach to run on. I like to think we remained friends.
WEAR YOUR MASK.