Poppy is all Xoë’s fault. She joined us for a maximum of two weeks – after Xoë begged and badgered and pleaded to be allowed to foster a dog from a rescue centre – and she is still with us all these years later. Well, what can you do with a duo who, right from the very first day, spend their whole time gazing with adoration at each other?
Alas, Xoë is no longer quite so infatuated as she used to be with her four-legged friend; she used to say that Poppy-darling was “an angel” but such praise she nowadays awards only to the likes of Virgil and Aeschylus… and Poppy’s space at the foot of her mistress’ bed has been taken up by fat volumes of poetry.
So, Poppy has now been adopted by Roxanne.
We used to tell people that Poppy was a genuine, thoroughbred cross between a malamute-come-whippet-come-pharaoh hound and a collie-come-Spanish hunting dog; but we have now discovered that this is not true. Although we never saw the like of her in Spain, in Northern Morocco we met dozens of near-identical twins – so we now realise that our pooch is a Moroccan Dingo.
If we’d known that she would still be with us after all this time Poppy would not have been allowed to keep her rescue centre name but would have been rechristened Grace O’Malley, or Anne Bonny; or we might even have tried for Popeye-the-Sailor-Dog. As it is, however, she has got used to being a wilting flower and doesn’t answer to any more seaworthy name.
Poppy enjoys sleeping, eating, sleeping some more, and going for long walks in leafy country lanes…
She used to be absolutely terrified of water but suddenly and unexpectedly overcame her hydrophobia and now takes a daily dip.
(I suppose one shouldn’t mention hydrophobia so lightly in connection with dogs. Having done so I must make it clear that our Pops has been fully vaccinated against absolutely everything, is regualarly de-wormed and de-fleaed and de-gaussed, as immigration procedures require, has had a micro-chip implanted in her shoulder, and has her very own Doggy Pasport.)
Poppy is very fond of cats, having once shared the ship with a tabby called Truco.
Her pet hates are rotweilers, large labradors, and being made to sleep on deck in the dark all by herself.
Like all ships’ dogs Poppy is also known as Spare Provisions.