Snickers is only 8 months old.
But the cocker spaniel already has spent three months adrift on a 48-foot boat and survived four months on a tiny Pacific atoll where his owners had to leave him behind when they were rescued by a cargo vessel that wouldn’t allow the pup on board.
Now Snickers is in Honolulu, rescued by cruise ship workers, the Humane Society, an airline, and others who have united to find him a home.
“It’s an amazing story of a lot of people working together to save this puppy,” said Evans Hoyt, captain of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of Aloha. “He’s a very, very lucky dog.”
His original owners had to abandon Snickers and their macaw, Gulliver, on Fanning Island, a populated atoll about 1,000 miles south of Hawaii, after drifting at sea on their boat for three months.
“They were able to catch a supply ship and make their way back home to California, but the ship wouldn’t allow Snickers to join them,” said Gina Baurile, from the Hawaiian Humane Society.
Las Vegas pet lover Jack Joslin read about Snickers’ saga in a boating journal and called the Hawaiian Humane Society to find out how he could rescue the pets. Honolulu TV and print media also have picked up the story in recent days.
“I was willing to spend whatever it took, but because so many people got involved willingly, it turned out not to cost me much at all,” said Joslin.
Norwegian Cruise Line offered to pick up Snickers, and Hawaiian Airlines volunteered to fly him to the mainland for free.
Paperwork problems prevented Joslin from bringing back Gulliver too.
But an elaborate plan is hatching to move the macaw to Christmas Island and eventually to Los Angeles, one of two U.S. ports that will accept exotic birds.
“We have an amazing network of bird lovers that came in to get involved in this,” bird enthusiast Peter Foreman said. “So, by golly, if they can do it for Snickers, they can do it for Gulliver.”
Snickers got a trim and flea treatment before boarding. Getting the canine cleared for travel involved the Hawaiian Humane Society, state agencies and the Department of Homeland Security.
The pup was living in luxury for the last week as the first pet on the Pride of Aloha. He was a little uneasy with all the attention, but he is a much different dog now than when the cruise ship first came to his rescue, according to crew members.
He was “very unsure of himself and a little bit suspicious of people, and it was amazing how just in the course of the first 24 hours and day by day he turned right around,” said Hoyt.
The cruise may be over, but the crew won’t soon forget the pooch they pampered.
“There were some people who were very sad to see him go. He’s a little heart-stealer, that one,” said Hoyt.
Joslin said he hoped to fly the dog to Los Angeles today.
Fanning Island is one of 33 scattered coral atolls that make up the nation of Kiribati.