There when you need him


To the Editor:

I would like to recognize Tashmoo harbor assistant Riley Donegan for helping to rescue a sweet, but determined black Lab at Lake Tashmoo on Monday, July 30.

This friendly dog appeared at the Tashmoo landing and was swimming, enjoying all the activity. This is not unusual, as dogs, particularly Labs, sometimes show up alone to swim. Their owners usually know where to find them and show up to collect their wet friends after a while.

In this case, as I brought my boat to the dock, I saw this sweet Lab determinedly swimming after a woman who had just launched a kayak. This woman was hitting the dog on the head with her paddle. Asked if it was her dog, she said no, clearly annoyed. I suggested that hitting the dog on the head was not a very nice thing to do. The kayaker continued to paddle south, through the mooring field, hitting the dog if it came too close.

The dog was determined to follow anyway. I jumped into a dingy, doing the one-oar Tashmoo stand-up paddle, hoping to distract the dog onto the beach. This technique is no match for a kayak and a determined water dog. As the dog and kayak reached the far southern end of the mooring field, the dog began to tire, slow down and its head bobbed. Fortunately, it turned toward the beach and made it to shore.

The kayak went around the corner and out of view. To my surprise, when the dog reached the beach, it ran around the corner to catch up with the kayak. I could do no more, so paddled back to the dock. That’s when Riley came by in the patrol boat. After a brief conversation, he went down to the southern end of Tashmoo to see where the dog was. He returned to the dock a while later, with the dog in the patrol boat. The dog had resumed its determined swim after the kayak.

Good job, Riley. This was one tired dog. She had a Tisbury license, but no nametag. Jeff Canha had good cell service, a rare occurrence for this area, and reluctantly called the Tisbury ACO. No one wanted to see that sweet dog hauled off to jail or ticketed, but it was not safe to have the dog swimming after boats. Jeff also called the town hall where he got the dog’s name and owner. Nala lives nearby, and Jeff offered to take her home. The ACO arrived and knew Nala. This was not Nala’s first search for adventure. A ticket will be mailed to the owners. Jeff took Nala home.

If Riley had not intervened, who knows where Nala would have ended up. This is the second year for Riley in Tashmoo. For Riley, it’s not always the most exciting job for a bright young man about to enter Princeton University. He does a good job, remains professional when controversy flares up, and is there when you need him.

Lynn Fraker

Vineyard Haven