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Mister July 2019 - Baloo
A new name & a new life

S
ometimes a change of scenery is all any dog – or human – needs to make a change in their life. Baloo’s big change is named Alex Hall. He helped change Baloo from an apartment dweller to yard dog, taught him about birds, and introduced him to the boating life.

For his willingness to have new experiences and travel beyond his comfort zone, and for being the yard dog everyone wants to visit, TownDock.net names Baloo Mr. July.

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Baloo and Alex Hall. This was Baloo’s first day at Triton Yachts. (Nancy Welles photo)

“I’m from Pennsylvania and the upstate New York area,” said Alex Hall. “I’ve been a sailor for a few years, but this is my first time owning an ocean going vessel.” Like others, Alex searched online and found his boat in Oriental. He showed up in July, bought the boat a week later, and came back for good in August, ready to work.

When Alex arrived in Oriental, he was accompanied by his 16 year-old poodle, Bubba.

“I took a sabbatical from being an RN to do this. I just needed a break. I took this job with Paul so I could work on the boat and get ready to move to Florida. I’ve had enough cold weather.” Paul Welles is the owner of Triton Yachts. Alex took a position as the boat yard manager.

“Bubba and I rode the hurricane out together in my boat on Green’s Creek. Of course, we had a lot of chain out.

“About a month later, I lost Bubba. I learned that going without a wife for five years was not as hard as going without a dog for a month. I was looking on online one night, saw a picture of Blue, called the people and heard their sob story.”

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When Alex saw an image of Blue on online, that was all it took for him to make the call and become his new human.

Blue, as he was named at birth, was fathered by a traveling man, and spent his formative months in a small New Bern apartment, getting his exercise only when venturing out to answer nature’s call.

Blue’s New Bern humans needed to find him a new home. Alex needed a new companion. Borrowing Paul’s truck, Alex drove to New Bern to meet the pup.

Alex decided to take him on, but with a name change. “He was actually named Blue because he had blue eyes when he was born. I changed it to Baloo because I like two-syllable names for dogs. I figured changing to Baloo would not be too confusing for him.”

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Baloo scans the boatyard for intruders violating his space: cats, little dogs, birds, and even Harrier jets.

The newly named Baloo showed no hesitation about leaving his old home. “He jumped right in with me and adapted to me really quick. My boat was at Sea Harbor then, so I first took him to the boat. When we got there, he followed me right onboard.”

What kind of dog is Baloo? Alex isn’t sure. “Baloo is some sort of Chihuahua mix. I call him a Mayan Terrier.”

The quick adaptation was not just to Alex; Baloo morphed into a new role as Tritons Yachts’ yard monitor, staying in touch with all activity, human and otherwise, throughout the rows of vessels parked at the east end of Midyette Street in Oriental.

“He loves being on the boat, just sleeping most of the time there. He sleeps when we go on long road trips. We hauled some Sunfish sailboats to Florida once in Paul’s big truck. He jumped right up on the console so he could see out the window. He gets around well now as traveling dog.”

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Baloo and Alex hard at work at Triton Yachts.

Even though Baloo loves living on a boat, Alex says he is definitely not a water dog. “He fell out of the boat the first time we went out. We were trying to get into the dinghy but he didn’t want to do that. When I was trying to get him, he got away and fell in the water. It was April; the water was cold. He had those big eyes looking up at me like he was saying, ‘Oh @#$%.’ I just reached down and picked him up. Now he doesn’t mind being on the boat; he’ll jump on and off the boat, but getting in the water? No. He’s not a water dog.”

Now that Baloo is fully acclimated to life with a sailor turned boat yard manager, he’s taken on a new role. “He runs this boat yard,” Alex said. “He has cleared the grounds of cats and he recently took issue with a turkey vulture that invaded after other birds had forced it down.”

Baloo is equal opportunity when protecting the boatyard’s air space. “He chases all the planes away that fly over,” Alex said. “He doesn’t want them to land here like the crows do and the turkey vulture did.

“The laughing gulls get him though. They fly around in circles laughing at him as he runs around in circles barking trying to chase them away,” Alex added, “He is fascinated with birds. In the spring, when birds had nests in the masts of a lot of boats, he would get up every morning and run down the row of boats and bark a good morning to them.”

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Baloo in the yard manager’s office chair.

Birds, cats, dogs – Baloo runs the yard and makes sure everyone knows. Triton Yachts’ grounds keeper Dennis Hurst has a black lab called Clint Eastwood. “But this is Baloo’s turf,” Alex says. “Clint is more than twice the size of Baloo, but he bows to Baloo because in Baloo’s mind, Clint is the smaller dog.”

But Baloo does have a penchant for some bigger dogs. “Baloo likes big blonds; the bigger, the better,” says Alex. “A guy had a boat here for a short time; went out and left his big white lab here while he was gone. The big lab sat and looked lonesome, staring at the road searching for his human to return. So Balou got between the big white lab and the road staring at her as if he were her protector. He doesn’t really like smaller dogs his size, he likes the big dogs.”

In his short tenure, Baloo has made quite the impression. “There are people that come to the boat yard now just to visit him. They may have been here to have work done and after it’s finished, they will stop back by just to see Baloo. A lady named Eileen comes back to see him every time she is in town.”

Baloo has adapted well, integrating himself into all aspects of Alex’s life. He shares Alex’s meals, too, as a supplement to dog food. “He would probably survive just eating what I eat. He had mackerel last night and he loves shrimp.”

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Triton Yachts’ Paul Welles shares a moment with Baloo and Alex.

Though the Tartan 27, Holly, is now ready for sea after months of work, Alex and Baloo will remain here until the threat of hurricanes passes. “I am probably going to be here until hurricane season peters out, then I am headed to Florida permanently. No more winter for me,” he says. “I have an aunt there. I have to get back to nursing. Been out a year now. We’ll sail to Fort Myers on Florida’s west coast. We’ll do some of the trip inside and some outside.”

Nancy Welles captured a photo in January of Alex bringing Baloo into the boatyard office for the first time. She said, “Just look into his sweet eyes and you immediately fall in love. I often dog-sit Baloo in my office when Alex is out doing something with Paul. He always anxiously awaits his return and will start to howl if he thinks Alex is taking too long. He’s just a super sweet dog.”

Paul Welles agreed, “When Alex leaves to go to Florida, we’re keeping Baloo.” However, Baloo has other plans… which include sticking close to Alex.

Short. Caffeinated. Willing to chase a Harrier Jet. Baloo is Mister July.

Celebrity most resembles: Jim Croce

Likes: Big blond females and shrimp.
Wants: Harrier pilots to know they can’t land in his space
Secret Talent: Can eat more fish than a cat
Dislikes: Small dogs his own size
Claim to Fame: Is sweeter than all other boatyard dogs
Rule to Live By: Boats should keep the water out, dogs in


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