Jailed at sea


Dear Mr. Ferry:

I would like to begin by apologizing for my dog. I am so sorry that I have adopted one and that I occasionally take it on your boat. But you see I live in Gibsons and if I want to see my grandchildren in Vancouver, I have to take your boat across to Horseshoe Bay. And if I want to come home, I have to take your boat again back to Langdale. I am so sorry but my 14-year-old deaf, almost-blind, 11-pound minpin/chihuahua has to come with me if I don’t want to leave him alone in the house without food or companion. And if I don’t bring my car, we are both sentenced, without so much as a preliminary hearing, to jail.

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He is very old and very small. I am also quite old and relatively small. So together we take up very little space and cause very little trouble to anyone. Both of us are trained not to pee on floors or furniture; neither of us barks unless we are left alone in a cage. And neither of us has ever bitten a child, except once when my grandson scared the hell out of us.

So please tell me why we both have to sit in dog jail when we are on your boat. We have trouble breathing the stuffy air and are very uncomfortable sitting on narrow benches in a very small room where we can’t see anything but cars. If there are more than two other people with dogs serving sentences, we are crowded to a degree not permitted even in federal penitentiaries.

What have we done to make you hate us so? The woman on the PA system taunts us with promises of good food and shops full of wonderful wares but we know those delights are only for those without dogs. We must remain below deck in our designated area, unable to even visit a restroom or vending machine.

Is it because we don’t pay enough for our fare? I would like to note that I pay the same fee as those who are welcomed with open arms to the Nirvana of Deck 4. Is it because my dog doesn’t pay for his ticket? I would like to state here and now that he would be pleased to purchase his own ticket if he doesn’t have to go to jail.

How about allowing us outside on the open deck? What about a glassed-in section of the passenger part of Deck 4? What about a cocktail waitress serving cold drinks and dog treats … no wait, that’s going too far.

Please, Mr. Ferry. Get us out of jail on your boats.

Peggy and Buddy Paulson, Gibsons

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