SNICKERS...StarCruiser Gets a Watchdog!

Well, it happened about 7 years ago, that we received our faithful companion, Snickers! He's a Pekinese (with a shave for the summer!) that some friends had to give up for some unknown reason.

Snickers had come into the world on October 1, 1988, as Snickers XIII of a long line of Chinese descendants and is registered with the American Kennel Club. Even though he had the ranking of royalty within his own breed, royalty made no difference in our household, as our grey tabby cat Whiskers immediately instructed him on whose boss in the house.

Snickers has now become our shop dog, waiting each morning at Verdon's feet until he has his breakfast, as he keeps a watchful eye out for Vernon to arrive either on his motorcycle or in his home built car. Then Snickers watches for Verdon to place his cap on his head and reach for the kitchen doorknob. He bounds like a cannonball down the stone path for the opening of the shop door and the start of a new day.

His 'shop day' is filled with lots of excitement, such as the many lightings of the acetylene torch which hail him into ecstasy as the torch user always shoots a little dash of oxygen at him and he howls with delight! And then there are the sheets of Styrofoam cut and laid out flat on the floor, which he proceeds to 'camp' on right away, just to prove he can lay wherever he wishes! But most of all, there is the semimonthly arrival of a new bed for the Shop Dog! As soon as the Kohler engine is opened and removed from the carton, he knows the injected foam bedding wrapped in it is his and he proceeds to move in permanently!

About the only time Snickers is removed from the shop is when the fiber glassing is in heavy operation, as it has been known in the past for him to lay right under the suspended craft and let the glass drip on his thick fur, caking it to a hard sediment! It does become difficult to walk on paws hardened with epoxy and catalyst! This was the original reason we decided to shave him. The first incident occurred in late spring one year...and we now have learned he is so much cooler without that hair in the summer anyway, that it is an automatic ritual to visit the vet or do it ourselves about twice a summer. It's hilarious to see him run around like a puppy jumping on everything for about one week, and then all of a sudden return to his normal self.

In his role of Shop Dog, he also has learned to deal with the UPS, RPS and Wisconsin Power & Light drivers, as well as a few customers who he is a little short on temper with. The UPS driver finally decided to carry dog bones with him! The rest of the drivers and customers...well, he decided they just weren't going away permanently! So a few ample barks to let everyone know of their arrival and quick sniff of the tires of their vehicles, and he returns to his quarters in the shop, his job done. (What they don't know is that his teeth are so short and misaligned, he would have to gum them to death to do any damage!)

At break times during the day, he is rewarded for all of his hard work with ice cream, cheese and cookies...altho he has been put on a diet as far as the cookies are allowed! It seems he can out eat the rest of us!! And mention the word 'ride' and he bounds for the hovercraft, thinking he'll at last get to go to the river, too! The StarCruiser has even been changed through the years to accommodate a pet.

The original StarCruiser design allowed him a place to sit (or attempt to stand) out on the deck of the 'wing', but the faster the craft went, Snickers found it more difficult to grasp a place to stabilize himself. It really was quite hilarious watching him slide back slowly as the hovercraft sped forward! But we never lost him...just changed the hovercraft design! And then there were the times when he used to stand in the little opening to the left or right of the propeller near the floor and watch the water and bubbles out the back of the craft, but for fear of losing him to the river, we have closed that portal, and changed the style of the craft again!

We often learn from our customers' suggestions, but we also learn from pets!

Snickers trustingly watches over the shop until closing time, at which as if on cue at 6:00 p.m. he looks up for someone to reach up and turn on the smoke detector, shut off the radio, turn the lights out, and walk out the door...and in that order, too! And then he slowly saunters back to the house to await a new day!

Oh, for the life of a dog!

...and a cat!

Here are the facts about the StarCruiser, and how you can obtain one... Fly Your Own StarCruiser!

To read about cruises and rallies in 1998, CLICK HERE!...