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LOST DOG FOUND:
Latitude 34.070454, Longitude 141.817886
One adorable, mortified-looking wet puppy.
The ship was bobbing peacefully at rest as the small boat was deployed on another garbage mission. A huge net was spotted some distance away and reports came back that attempts were being made to retrieve it before moving on to the ship’s new station. The trash sleuths succeeded to return with the usual buoys (JinChang brand), bottles ( Nongfu Springs mineral water from China) the net and – a dog.
This dog looked positively terrified. Gob smacked and otherwise catatonic. He was found by Jim the faculty advisor floating tangled in the nets like an unlucky dolphin or mermaid whose lovely golden locks had suffered a nasty brush with misfortune. Never mind that the soggy pooch was stuffed. It appeared surreally in distress with bulging eyes staring straight at his rescuers, animated floppy ears gyrating in the gyre as if to say, “Get me outta here, I hate this place !” Thus the dog made it to the ship. Examining it for any wounds or damage, the endearing yet somewhat disturbingly deranged expression on his little mug revealed a steely disposition for survival. Other than a few stitches undone around his well-formed snout and a barnacle tear below his right eye, pup seemed miraculously intact considering his ordeal. On closer inspection, it was determined that place of birth was China and Mom and Dad were Melissa and Doug, Inc. of Westport, Connecticut. There was even a telephone number. Since we do not have landlines, I could not call home for poor pup. It was decided that Jim would adopt pup, and possibly – after hosing him down to get the miscellaneous sea odor out of his 100% polyester fur, would take him on further cruises. Pup received a long lost family pet reception by all who came out to greet him. Then, he did the photo shoot rounds and became a star. Even the cat on the kitty litter bag in the wet lab requested a session with him.
During a quiet moment when new owner and pet were communing on the stern deck, Jim, in chatting with his fishing buddy Buddy, arrived at a name for his speechlessly grateful canine friend. To Jim this dog and this name for this dog seem to be appropriate for this cruise. Other scientists suggested Annette, Nurdle, Vortex and other plasticy references. But Jim held fast to his decision to name his pet, fashioned a plastic dog tag and attached it to a little plastic rope collar and asked me to do the honors to inscribe the new member of crew’s name both in English and Chinese and fasten it to his handsome if not squidgy neck. We sighed with satisfaction at the sight of a non-seafaring inanimate furry critter restored to health and could have sworn we saw that barnacle tear sparkle for an instant in the sunset. Lucky. Xing Fu. Indeed.
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