The Martha’s Vineyard ferry was loaded to capacity with children and their families escaping the approaching hurricane. They had cut their Labor Day vacations short to avoid being stuck on the Island on the first day of school in their far flung home towns. These were ideal conditions for Katy, the wire fox terrier, sitting on her owner’s lap (no dogs on the seats), in the forward lounge. One by one, the children approached Katy and asked if they could pet her. Bill agreed, knowing that there was nothing that Katy loved better than attention. Within 10 minutes of leaving the Island there was a line of about a dozen children waiting for their turn. Bill told them that her name was Katy, but that among friends she was called Kiss Me Katy because of her tendency to lick the faces of any child who came within kissing range. One little boy, about seven, lingered for the full facial treatment until the children behind him, complained that he was taking too long because the ferry ride was only 45 minutes.

Bill had planned to catch up on his emails, but that was out of the question. He had to supervise Katy’s public and answer question about her breed and age and even whether she spoke English. He told that child, from Quebec, that Katy also spoke French, but that she had such a Marseilles accent that it was hard to hear it in her bark. The Canadian child thought about it and said Je t’aime, I love you in French. Katy licked his face and he went away convinced that she really did speak French. Bill remembered that Carolyn used to amuse herself by making puns for her elementary school students. Finally the announcement came that the ferry was arriving at Woods Hole and that the passengers should line up at exit four on the port side. Bill waited for the end of the line. The car was in the front parking lot so no need to scramble for the busses for the more remote parking areas.

As Bill and Katy descended the gang plank there was a group of about six children, and their impatient parents, all waiting to say goodbye to Katy, who greeted her public with the same grace as ever. Katy may never have caught a fox, but she has charmed dozens of children in only her first summer on Martha’s Vineyard.

William Knight
Vineyard Haven