Polar Bear, born April 2, 2006. I met him when he was four months old, I’d seen him in the base paper. I was stationed in Nevada my last two years of the Air Force and finally moved off base. I really wanted to get a dog. When I was a teenager, I met one my first American Eskimo puppy. He was the sweetest boy, I told myself “when I grow up I’m going to get one of those dogs.” Isn’t it great when your wishes come true?!

The 3 year old boy that selected Bear at the pet store turned out to be really allergic to him and they couldn’t keep him. I was delighted to bring him home. He was such a good boy. Very polite, sweet, and happy go lucky as I’d remembered the other puppy. My ex-boyfriends’ dog had severe hip dysplasia and in an effort to keep the dog alive, I offered to pay for half of his surgeries. I just didn’t have $2,500.

What would you know, when I was browsing the base paper again, I saw a 6 month old female American Eskimo available. Bear was 6 months old! I decided to breed them. I’ll write more about that on Zita’s page, but Bear was a wonderful papa to his three babies. They climbed all over him and played with him, and he rolled on his back and let them chew on him.

I was very worried about moving the dogs onto a sailboat I knew nothing about, but dogs are pretty adaptable! He jumped aboard before I even told him what boat was ours. It was like he knew. He really loved sitting in the cockpit with the wind in his hair. He loved all the doggie friends and people friends we made at our first marina in Berkeley, CA. There was even a dog park!

Eventually, I got a dinghy and I’d row the pups across the harbor after work to do a load of laundry and let them run around at the park. It was the perfect arrangement! Bear ended up loving the dinghy so much that he’d often jump off the boat and be waiting in the dinghy :)) I’d occasionally pass people rowing who would stop by to say hi to Bear. He was a very friendly and social boy.

From backcountry camping at the Grand Canyon to running on the beaches of Mexico, he was down for whatever adventure I came up with. It always meant we’d be doing a lot of fun stuff, and sleeping in close quarters was his favorite because then we HAD to cuddle! He was perfectly healthy until 2020, when he developed renal failure. Thankfully, he did not suffer for too long, as he was not showing any symptoms until a month prior to his passing.

I am so lucky to have had such a sweet and loving boy in my life for 15 beautiful years. His bright eyes and big smile would bring out a joy in complete strangers of all ages, one so pure and genuine I couldn’t help but be happy our paths crossed. I loved seeing people so happy to stop and pet him and take pictures and ask questions about him. People often tried to take him home with them!

He wasn’t a huge fan of sailing itself, but would deal so long as he had a lap to sit on or lean on. He lived for shore excursions! The long walks we took in new ports were his favorite part, new people and new doggie friends. I hope he’s now watching over his little lady and playing with all his doggie friends running in endless open fields.