Sailing puppy

Rocket Dog

In Living Aboard, Rocket Dog, Rocket thru the ears by Volare1 Comment

Meet Rocket the Dog…. Rocket Dog!
He’s named rocket because he’s the fastest dog in the west!

Rocket the dog

Rocket the Dog. Fastest dog in the West.

We decided… actually… Jess decided that we needed a dog. She started perusing the local shelter. Somewhere in that scenario, she called and asked me to meet her at the San Diego Humane Society.

I told her… “you know… if I come meet you it means we’re getting a dog … right”?

Now for perspective, the San Diego Humane Society is nice. Really nice. Each dog has his own little hotel room.
We walked around a bit.. looking in the little doggie windows. This one? Nope. That one won’t make eye contact. This one? Nope… he’s currently eating the couch.

When Jess first saw our future 7 month old puppy… he was standing in the window barking. A definite no-go. But then I had a look. Yes he was barking… but I think he was yelling…

Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!

I gave him a second look… asked Jess to take a second look… and before we knew it we were sitting in his room. Instant bond. He picked us… and that was the beginning of the absolutely most amazing puppy ever.


The wonderful life we lived with our Rocket was because of Rocket.

We like to claim that we didn’t teach him anything.  He just knew how to fetch, play Frisbee, run, walk and love us.  He would listen intently as we had conversations.  He would tilt his head, raise his eyebrows and look from one of us to the other.  We were convinced he understood every word.

He loved sailing… would lose his mind when we grabbed the boat key.  He had the ability to bark himself silly as we tacked upwind… or just chill, looking out his little aft gate window, heading downwind. Either way.. he loved sailing, swimming and everything fetch.

Best of all… he loved us as much as we loved him.

We’ve never known a dog so perfect.  He was such a great traveling dog.  Either by sail or by car.  We’re convinced he spoke English.  His huge vocabulary sure indicated he was in the conversation.

The only reason he needed a leash was to make sure his parents didn’t walk into traffic.  He certainly wouldn’t.  Ever seen a dog running full speed to catch a ball then throw on the brakes, stand at the curb and watch the ball roll down the street?  All we did was tell Rocket not to run into the street.

He loved the water.  Would chase waves back and forth… back and forth until he flumped into the water to cool down.  All the time smiling at us.

We modified our boat.. our lives… in so many ways to make Rockets life more enjoyable.  We loved sitting outside with him when we went out to eat and we rarely did it without him.  Even in the winter, we knew of all the best places that had outside heaters.  Rain and shine we loved to be with our puppy.  We had great plans to take him to far away lands where he could run free beside us.  Swim in crystal blue water until exhausted and then chill on our back deck until sleepy.

Rocket lived until a very young 10 years old.  Grief has taken a new meaning for us.

In the spring of 2017 Rocket began limping.  We consulted the vet and found out he had arthritis.  We tried so many things to help him.  Food additives, glucosamine, old drugs, new drugs, heat, ice, IR light, bandages and massages.

His limping became more pronounced in May.  We now thought that he might have a muscle, ligament or joint issue.  The vet recommended an x-ray to help the diagnosis…. to be followed by the words that should never be spoken to a pet owner.  “Your best friend has bone cancer and is going to die.”

…….  What?!?!


Tears, grief, sadness, pain…….. emptiness.

We had to try something… anything.

The next two months saw attempts at radiation and chemotherapy.  Neither worked.  It couldn’t, really.  Rocket had osteosarcoma.  Bone cancer.  So much so that most of his hip was eaten by this goddam fucking damn DAMN damn cruel disease!

Rocket would have never given up.  Never.  His loyalty transcended everything.  He loved us through it all.

We hope we fulfilled your every wish little puppy.  We hope you never wanted for anything.  Most of all… we hope we were everything you ever wanted in a friend.  You were for us.

We loved our gentle friend.  As we held him tight, we said our goodbyes… but it’ll never be enough.  Goodbyes are forever.




Thanks for reading! Make sure to check out the rest of our website and follow along with our travels at CruisingVolare.


  1. So touching. You are not alone when it comes to the heart wrenching grief when man’s best friend passes away. I am happy for you guys the life you had with Rocket. What a perfect name for him! I came upon your website when doing a search for live aboarders that have dogs on board too and what that was like. We have two Cattledogs that could be a challenge to keep on board more or less full time and would appreciate any advice you can give based on your experience. We currently have a 30′ LOD cruising blue water boat kept at Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. She’s been around the world twice with her previous owners. We are exploring selling her for a bigger sailboat to live aboard and cruise but the dog issue needs to be fully understood to have confidence that arrangement will work. Thanks

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