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Mister June 2019 - Titan
From pound dog to yachtsman

T
itan. It can be a person or thing of very great strength, intellect, or importance. Or the largest moon of Saturn. For the ancient Greeks, they were the children of Heaven and Earth and parents of the Olympian Pantheon.

But for Stuart Moore, Titan is a rescued best friend, and loyal companion on land and sea. That’s what makes Titan Mr. June, TownDock.net’s Pet of the Month.

Titan
Titan

In July of 2013, Stuart found himself in a dog pound in Kent County, Delaware. Six months prior he’d lost his German Shepherd, Sarge, to cancer. Nine days prior to walking through the doors of the pound, Stuart lost his wife to the same fate.

“We had talked so much about another dog, I went searching for one and found Titan,” Stuart said. “I have always tried to rescue a dog for a pet from a pound. I always ask for a German shepherd mix. They went one better and said they had a full blooded shepherd that had been neglected.”

The pound had named Titan. They didn’t want him to associate his prior abusive situation and name with his new one.

Titan
Titan shares the helm with his human, Stuart Moore.

Stuart spent an hour in the yard with Titan and learned that the dog was completely untrained. There had been an ad for Titan and Stuart wasn’t the only one to respond. A family had put in an application before Stuart arrived. The pound was particular about who adopted their animals. Stuart had to provide references and diagrams of the living and play spaces available.

Stuart got a call soon after. “Your vet really loves you,” they told him. His references had checked out. He left his job as an advocate and administrator for Easter Seals in Delaware early that day. “When I picked Titan up, he was so untrained, he didn’t know how to get in the car. I had a Tahoe and when I finally got him in the car, I thought he would love all that space in the back. I was not even a mile from the pound when he jumped into the front seat and laid his head on my thigh for the entire ride home.”

Titan
Stuart believes Titan is able to appreciate the scenery in their backyard on the shores of Raccoon Creek.

They arrived at Stuart’s four bedroom home. His three children had moved out and started families of their own. One lived nearby and two more were in North Carolina. “Soon, I was thinking,” he said. “I had to reinvent what the rest of my life would be like. I decided to sell the house. I told the kids, ‘I’m not selling memories, I’m just selling bricks and mortar.”

In December of 2014, Stuart was visiting his son, Duncan, in Raleigh. He’d been lifelong sailor and had found sailing in the Chesapeake to be increasingly expensive. He’d heard about Oriental from other sailors. “Cruising sailors had said nice things about the village. People had talked about getting such competent repairs at the boatyards; some would say they tied up at the town dock and before they knew it, they had four invitations to dinner.“

Titan
Titan is on watch for other dogs who might be in transit or to keep up with the neighbors.

“The only connection that I had with the area was that my mother was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps during WWII and was a celestial and Loran navigation instructor at Cherry Point.” Stuart told Duncan he was heading east to visit Oriental. “His response was like many residents of North Carolina west of I-95, ‘Where’s that?’”

“When I visited Oriental with Titan, people joked with me, asking, ‘Did you always have the dog?’ I told them I had heard you had to have one to move to Oriental.

“I started calling this place Dog Town. I would say to Titan, ‘Want to go to Dog Town?’ He was ready to go. He’s a great traveler, sleeps on the floor, wherever he is, he is happy.”

Stuart and Titan found their home around Christmas 2016, and made their final move in January, 2017. It’s in the middle of town with a duck pond view. Stuart and Titan take walks through town, spend time on The Bean porch, and are friendly with dogs and people alike.

Titan
Titan meets Salt, an Italian greyhound visiting the town dock on a boat with his humans.

Stuart has worked with Titan since his pound days. “German shepherds can be a handful without training. They are whatever you train them to be, your can train them to be mean or nice. Titan loves 99% of all the dogs he meets as well as new people.” He recalls a time when an Italian Greyhound, Salt, was visiting aboard the boat Skinnydipper. Titan stepped onto the boat and touched noses with the much smaller dog. “He is always socially gregarious with dogs. He will go out of his way to meet other dogs. Right now he is concentrating on his new girlfriend, a black shepherd.”

Stuart keeps a boat at Pecan Grove. Though new to sailing, Titan now loves it, wearing his PFD and non-slip deck shoes without complaint. “He doesn’t try to shake them off like so many dogs do to things humans want them to wear.”

Titan
Titan easily adapted to local waters, becoming a skilled cruiser following rules for safety and standing watch.

The pair have had their share of close calls. A short trip to Pecan Grove Marina’s pump-out docks became a Titan overboard drill. Stuart, and Titan, learned a few important lessons from that adventure: it takes a halyard and a winch to get nearly 100 pounds of wet Titan back onto the boat or dry land.

“The man/dog overboard drills at Pecan Grove were learning experiences for both of us; Titan was not accustomed to boats before I got him and has become better at judging distances from boat to narrow finger piers. I learned that I had purchased the right PFD as it has sturdy lifting handles integrated into the chest straps,” Stuart said. Titan “viewed the whole exercise as great fun but has become much better at obeying the command, ‘Wait’ until the boat is closer to the pier.  Thankfully, he has always been much more careful when underway and is a strong swimmer.”

Titan
Booties to prevent slipping on deck are standard for Titan. He doesn’t mind wearing them; has no tendency to to shake them off as many dogs do.

Despite Titan’s uncertain beginnings, he displays few signs of trauma. “Because of his former life, he has trust issues, especially with males. That goes away; it only lasts up to 15 to 20 seconds. But with with women, it goes away in 5 to 10.”

The guest bedroom was volunteered for the 2017 Cycle NC event, noting the guests would have to be fine with being in a dog’s environment. “I was not at home one evening they were here and the cyclists went out for dinner. When they returned, Titan met them at the door with his leash asking them to take him out for a walk.”

Titan has a particular affection for those in uniform. “He is just excited to see a police car and the uniform. On several occasions, he has gone out of his way to greet officers without his usual initial shyness and finding a K9 unit is just the mother lode.  It might possibly be that he was removed from an extremely neglectful situation by the Delaware State Police in 2013 and he may see them as saviors.”

Titan
Titan exhibits a few police characteristics. Stuart says it is reasonable to conclude Titan is in that protection mode as he keeps a watchful eye on Stuart’s niece while she looks at rapids on the Hudson River in upstate NY.

Titan loves his neighbors, too. They’re used to his loud greeting bark, though it can be disconcerting to new people – it’s the same as his alarm bark, and at full volume. It’s just his way of saying hello.

“I think there are a lot of qualities we can pick up from dogs,” Stuart said, like ”greeting loved ones daily as if they have been gone for months, unconditional forgiveness, and the unbridled joy of fellowship. They just might be better Christians than we are.” 

Titan. Mister June 2019.

Titan
Titan keeps an eye on his human.

Celebrity most resembles: Rin Tin Tin

Likes: Females, human and canine
Wants: A date with the new black shepherd in the ‘hood
Secret Talent: Can disarm with bark or with charm
Dislikes: Aggressive males
Claim to Fame: Transitioned from pound to cruising yachtsman
Rule to Live By: My bark says welcome, glad to see you


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