, 2014

Merry the setter is a frequent
Merry Point Ferry passenger

by Audrey Thomasson

MERRY POINT—The ferry crosses the Corrotoman River early Tuesday morning and pulls up to the ramp at Merry Point. Waiting patiently at the side of the road is Merry, a DeCoverly English setter.

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Each morning, Merry takes her position on the bow of the Merry Point Ferry.

Ferry operator Dale Abernathey steps onto the ramp and lifts the safety bar. As soon as the lone car exits, Merry stands up and walks onto the ferry, taking her position at the bow just as she’s done many mornings over the past nine years.

“She usually inspects any cars that are on the ferry,” said Abernathy. When the ferry arrives at the Ottoman side of the river, Merry gets off. “Sometimes she doesn’t want to get back on, and then she swims back.”

Over the years, Merry has become a fixture on the ferry and is known to most drivers who make the trip each morning. “They bring her treats,” Abernathey said.

“She’s the ferry’s hood ornament,” said Barr Brooks. He and wife, Judy, obtained Merry as a puppy. Their Merry Point home overlooking the ferry loading dock is the only home she has known.

She started riding the ferry as therapy after recovering from a leg fracture when she was 9 months old, according to Barr. “She’d ride the ferry across the river and then swim back.”

But as the therapy became her morning constitutional, the Brooks put some limits on her trips.

“We don’t let her go on busy weekends when there are a lot of boats on the water. It’s hard for them to see her head bobbing in the river,” he said.

The setter will be 10 years old on Pearl Harbor Day, but despite her age, she still enjoys her morning ferry rides and the occasional swim across the river. Be sure to look for her—and don’t forget the treats.

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