All dogs are special, there is no doubt about that. But what is it about white dogs that gives them an extra edge? At least this has been my experience with all the ones I have met, including my own.
Meet Snow, one such super special white Golden Retriever who lives on O’ahu and knows how to make a splash.
Very much an island boy, Snow is now 8 years old, and was born in England, then flew to Nevis in the Caribbean Islands by himself when he was four months old to join his new Mom, and now lives on O’ahu in the Hawaiian Islands. He is also a water boy, and has been one from when he was an piddly-bitty one, when he would tilt the bowl in his kennel so he could sit in the water.
It follows that he would love the ocean, the beach, swimming and all that goes with island life. He has been on the ocean from day one ,if not on the boat, then floating on a lilo, or inflatable mattress float. When I photographed him about a year ago, we walked to the tide pools near his house where he climbed up on the rocks and just dove right in, and then again, and again. It looked so refreshing and fun that he made me want to go jump in with him.
Snow loves people, but especially children, and he knows to just swim next to them without climbing over them. If you hold his hind quarters – not his tail – while floating, he will pull you to shore. They call him Rescue Pup, as he gets very concerned if he thinks you may be in trouble in the water.
A talented communicator from day one, I am told that, upon arriving at the airport in Nevis, the boy was incensed that someone would leave him in his kennel on the baggage conveyor belt and barked until someone finally took him off. He has never had a problem telling his Mommy how he feels. If he disagrees with what she wants him to do, he does it anyway, but groans. He also makes some amazingly human sounds, generally ones that indicate his irritation at not being able to get his way. If Mommy does not pay him enough attention or he wants something, he either “talks” or barks at her. Since he was a puppy, Snow has made it a point of walking over to his Mommy after eating and burp in her face to let her know he enjoyed the meal.
Snow’s expressive talents also extend to facial expressions, like when he is questioning his Mommy and his lip gets caught in his tooth, making him look like he’s saying “Huh?” From time to time he winks, too. It is rarely unclear what he wants. He loves his morning and night time cookies, which are really different types of dog treats: dental bones, dog biscuits, chews and such.
Then there is the word Beach. He knows a whole bunch of words related to beach, and he even understands when they spell b-e-a-c-h, so there’s no talking about beaches unless they are actually ready to go to one. As soon as his Mommy opens her underwear drawer, he knows it is time for a walk and goes in to watch her get dressed.
His communicative abilities extend to car rides, which he loves, especially barking at hoodlums, be they man or beast.
Snow is also a great guard puppy. When he was six-months-old, and already quite large, he ran down the beach by their house in Nevis and knocked over a two-year-old child – who then became his friend. Snow was so distraught by the crying that now, when he meets children, he sits down and is extra careful with them.
He is also very much a people dog, and has been a pet surrogate for so many who are away from home and miss their dogs.
His other adventures on Nevis include encounters with other dogs, who would run in packs and terrorize him when he was little. Then one day he got big, the pack ran up to him on the beach and he took after them. They never bothered him again.
When he and his Mommy first moved to O’ahu, Snow pulled the dive flag float when they went out snorkeling. Dolphins looooove him, and always seem to find him when Snow and family happen to be near a pod. One day, the coast guard helicopter, which they see quite often when out snorkeling, flew in low and circled them while the guys took photos from the chopper’s open door.
Snow also goes out on the boat with his Mommy, who is a marine biologist and now captain of her boat, literally, offering not-to-be-missed snorkeling trips on a smooth-riding, futuristic-looking, glass-bottom boat (one of only two in the U.S.) off the coast of O’ahu.
Snow is very gentle, and not much into the retrieving part of his breed unless, of course, there is something in the water that another dog is after. He loves hunting fish and crabs in the tide pools, but does not usually catch anything. One time he caught an almost dead triggerfish in a tide pool, and another time it was a sea cucumber, which he brought back and gently placed on the shore. His Mommy put it back in the water, and he did not go back after it. He was a little confused by the feel of it in his mouth.
When he was little, his Mommy taught him to locate katydids because their screeching sound drove her nuts. He would find them and eat them, and the noise would stop. After a while he decided he did not like them anymore. He would still find them, but not eat them.
He also learned to alert his family to scorpions and centipedes without putting himself at risk.
While most dogs have a special toy, Snow has his special towels. They are old Four Seasons bath towels from Nevis. He plays with them, meditates with them and, if he likes someone, he will bring them The Towel of Welcome.
I have been calling him just Snow so far, but, like any respectable dog who lives with true dog people and is loved and adored as he should be, he has a whole bunch of nicknames. Ready? Here goes:
Big White Snooker Boo, Dah Boo, Nooker New, Snowpants, Snooker Beast, Beast, Snooker Dah Boo, Snook, Snookie, Snook Willie, Wille, and Hau Kea, which means Snow in Hawaiian.
And because any dog should have a theme song, or two, or three, his Mommy has some made up ones that she sings to him. Worthy of a Grammy of course! 😉
Sing to any melody at your own risk (of giggling):
“He’s the best Boo in da world
Snookerboo’s the best boy in da world
He is the best boy
He is the Best
He is the best boy in da wooooorld!”
and, with a nice beat and some sing-song:
“Who wants a cookie from the cookie jar?
Does my Nookie want a cookie from the cookie Jar?
Who wants a cookie?
Does my Nookie want a cookie?
Does my Nookie want a cookie from the (insert dramatic pause) cookie jar?”
Are you giggling yet? Or even laughing out loud like I did early this morning when I read Snow’s Mommy e-mail while I was still in bed. There was no going back to sleep after that: my own furry boys got excited and decided it was time for breakfast. If you are a dog person (or animal person) I know you will relate.
If you want to know more about Snow, you can read about him in the crew section of www.undertheseahawaii.com, and if you are on O’ahu, or going there on vacation, maybe he will take you out on his Mommy’s spiffy boat and show you his favorite snorkeling spots.
Woofs & Wiggles! )~
Here are more adorable Tales of Tails for you to enjoy:
And these are my Boyz: