Doggos Travel & Food

The Best Laid Plans of Dogs and Men

The hand-off was supposed to go down late at night on November 8, 2019, on Calle Compostela in the old part of Havana.

There he was, resting in a doorway, indifferent to his surroundings. The street wasn’t too busy or bright, so I didn’t have to worry about attracting attention. I dug into my pocket, pulled out a small Ziploc bag, selected one of the items inside, and gripped it carefully.

I didn’t expect what happened next.

I extended my hand and offered the item to him. He ignored me. I waved it under his nose, hoping the smell would convince him it was the good stuff from America. He didn’t care. He wasn’t interested in the slightest.

He didn’t even wag his tail.

Operation Treatos Para Perritos was off to a bad start.

“No gracias.”

Our Plan Went to the Dogs

A few weeks earlier, when the Complimentary Spouse and I were planning our third trip to Cuba, we were discussing the homeless dogs we’d seen on our previous visits. They were friendly and happy, but clearly weren’t getting much food.

We decided to put a box of Milk-Bones in our luggage for the dogs, along with gum, tennis balls, and other little presents we always bring to give to kids.

I named our plan Operation Treatos Para Perritos. We thought the dogs would love it. But, as we leaned quickly on Calle Compostela, they couldn’t care less.

We approached about 30 dogs over three days with Milk-Bones. They loved the attention from Britt and me, but had no enthusiasm for the treats. Just one accepted a treat, but only after a long period of confusion and uncertainty. Instead of eating it in front of us, he took it in his mouth and slowly walked away. I’d like to think he ate it, but it’s more likely that he spit it out.

This dog doesn't want a treat.
“I’m gonna pass.”
This dog doesn't want a treat.
“I’m going to ignore you now.”

The only taker for the Milk-Bones was a woman who saw what I was doing and asked for a few. I explained they were dog treats, and she said she had a dog at home. I gave her a handful.

About half an hour later, we saw her trying to sell the Milk-Bones to people in the street.

Free enterprise will always find a way.

Planning Ahead

So, what went wrong? At first, I thought the dogs didn’t like Milk-Bones — but I quickly realized that was a stupid idea.

Homeless dogs in Havana are not pampered pets like Lucy and Linus. They’re not holding out on the cheap treats because they know there’s leftover steak from Bern’s in the fridge.

No, the most likely explanation is that these dogs wouldn’t recognize any dog treats as real food — from ordinary Milk-Bones to the gourmet $5 biscuits at the dog boutique near our house.

If you were used to scavenging for scraps of leftover food, you’d probably be perplexed by prepackaged, processed, or custom-made dog treats too.

Accordingly, I’m adjusting my strategy for the next Operation Treatos Para Perritos. I’ll test out things like jerky, freeze-dried treats, and rawhide chews.

And, if that doesn’t work, I’ll round up all the dogs and take them home with me. I’ll just have to figure out how to convince Southwest Airlines that I need two dozen comfort animals.


Get Your Trix on Route 66

I’d like to introduce you to my new niece, Trixie!

Trixie is a tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She was eager to play with her new cousins, but Lucy wanted to be by herself and Linus was somewhat skittish. But don’t worry — Uncle Britt showered Trixie with attention!


So It’s Come to This: A Doggo Photo Post

It has been a while since I posted anything, which means you can accuse me of false advertising — it is, after all, The Daily Dave. Not The When I Feel Like Posting Something Dave.

To apologize for slipping out of my regular posting cadence, I offer up the adorable pictures of Lucy and Linus:

About to return home after evacuating for Ian
Linus is pissed at something I did
Doggos in repose
Linus enjoys some doggie ice cream to celebrate his third birthday
Linus, I’m trying to work!
Lucy cuddles with her daddy
Don’t be fooled by those eyes — he’s not that innocent
Yeah, this captures their personalities

The Little Rascal

Two years ago today, the Complimentary Spouse and I adopted Linus from a shelter in Ruskin. You might recall my post last year about the day we adopted him.

Over the past year, the little rascal has become even more endearing. We love all his quirks. Well, not all. We could live without him barking at houseplants and other inanimate objects.

Linus and Lucy still get along well. When he nips at her ears, she takes it in stride.

In honor of the second Linus Day, here’s a little video I made about his first day in our family.


Things Are Ruff Around Here

As you can see, the first month of 2021 was filled with rambunctiousness and cuddles.

Happy Linus Day!

One year ago, we adopted a rambunctious little brown pupper from a rescue shelter in Ruskin. We named him Linus. Here’s the story about how the little rascal joined our family and changed it forever. 

The Complimentary Spouse and I adopted Lucy, also a rescue, in 2013. We talked occasionally about getting her a little brother or sister, and from time to time we’d fawn over the puppy photos on the adoption sites. That’s what we were doing at lunch at Chili’s on January 25, 2020. We kept coming back to one picture of two playful pups. This is the photo: 

“Should I call?” I asked Britt.

“If you want to,” he said. 

I called and asked if the puppies were still available. The woman on the other end of the phone said they were, so I asked if we could see them next weekend.

“If they’re here next weekend,” she said. “There’s a lot of interest.” 

I thanked her and told Britt that we had to visit the puppies that day. He shrugged and agreed. It felt like he didn’t want to go.

We left the restaurant and made the half-hour drive to Ruskin. A woman with an English accent greeted us and escorted us to a gated enclosure. Inside were the two brown pups and their mother. We asked to hold the puppies. She opened the gate and took them out. They were warm and wanted to be held. It was love at first cuddle. 

We reluctantly gave back the puppies and went inside to talk to the shelter employees. We gushed over the dogs and made a pitch to adopt one of them. I said we were ideal candidates because: 

  • We already had one dog
  • Britt works close to home, so he could check in on the puppy once a day
  • We had the means to cover any medical costs that might come up
  • We used one of the top veterinary clinics in Tampa
  • We have an enclosed courtyard

We filled out the application form on the spot, and they told us that it would take about a week to make a decision. On Monday, I had our vet contact the shelter to attest to our capabilities as doting pet owners.  

On Tuesday, I called up the shelter to make sure they had everything they needed. I then asked how long it would take to make a decision. 

“They didn’t call you?” they asked over the phone. “You’re getting one of the dogs.” 

I was ecstatic. 

Britt and I had already discussed which dog we wanted. Both puppies were similar, but we decided we wanted the smaller one since Lucy was the runt of her litter. So I told the woman that we would come by Friday to get that dog; Britt didn’t have to work that day and I could take the day off. 

We drove out to Ruskin around 9 a.m. on Friday. We took along a new collar and lead, some toys, and a few towels. Linus seemed confused and less energetic than before, but just as affectionate. We were pleased to learn that his mother had been adopted a few days prior, and his brother was to be adopted that afternoon. Everyone was getting new homes! 

Here’s Britt the moment they brought Linus to us: 

We wanted to introduce Lucy and Linus in a neutral spot, so Britt took Linus to our Starbucks while I went home to fetch Lucy. We expected Lucy would growl at the strange little guy when they met. Instead, Linus barked at Lucy, surprising her and us. 

Linus’s adjustment wasn’t easy. He howled and whimpered all night until we let him sleep in the bed with us. He was hard to house train. He has a taste for shoes. He’s still quite stubborn and doesn’t always come when called. He’s definitely a barker! He likes to gnaw through power cords, so we’ve had to erect some makeshift barriers to keep him from electrocuting himself.2 

But, despite all these challenges, Linus has become the spark plug that drives our family. He plays often with Lucy, tugging at her ears. He tussles with his sister over chew toys. He has invented a game where he rolls a rubber ball under the coffee table and rushes to the other side to pick it up.3 If you’re lying on the couch, Linus loves nothing more than to curl up on your torso or nestle between your legs: 

Just as Lucy had done several years before, Linus reshaped our family dynamics — for the better. We can’t imagine life without him. 

When the pandemic ends, stop by and meet Linus. He might be skittish at first, but soon he’ll be jumping on your lap and into your heart. 

1 Britt explains his reluctance: He wasn’t sure he wanted another dog right away, “and I knew that as soon as I saw a puppy, I’d have to adopt it.”4
2 When you visit Camp David, don’t be surprised to see some folding chairs lying on their sides. 
3 Which means Britt and I have to crawl on the floor to reach the ball if it doesn’t roll all the way through. 
4 Which, of course, is exactly what happened.


2020: The Year in Doggos

This has been an exciting year for Lucy the Wonderpup and Linus the Quarantine Canine. In January, we rescued Linus from a shelter in Ruskin. Lucy has proven herself to be a loving and patient big sister. Linus is a rambunctious little rascal. Because of Covid, we’ve been able to spend a lot of time home with the doggos, so they got a lot of extra attention.

Here’s a little highlights video that my iPhone made for me: