The day Asquit White’s life went to the dogs
Asquit White is devoted to the five small terriers in his charge. He takes his responsibility very seriously because his “boss” loves the dogs and refers to them as his kids.
A true gentleman with a spontaneous smile, White has a language all of his own when speaking to Griffin, Winston, Asta, Sophie and Sadie Rose ... adding Peach Pie to the end of her name because she came from Georgia.
“These dogs love adventure,” said White, who makes sure they get plenty.
You might say they all live the good life, but that was not always the case.
There is nothing ordinary about Asquit Alesta White. Starting with his unique name and interesting West Indies accent. He explained that while his mom was at the hospital in labor she was reading a magazine about an English Lord by the name of Lord Asquit. She thought that was a good name and the rest is history.
Asquit grew up in Antiqua, a British Colony in the West Indies, in a large family. As an adult he moved to New York, where he got a job in construction working in Hoboken, N.Y., for a wealthy real estate developer, Sandy Weiss.
“He was a nice man and we become very good friends,” said White.
When Weiss learned that he was living at a shelter and had to be in by a certain time, he told him “nobody who works for me goes to a shelter” and from that day on, he paid for an apartment for him as well as his wife and his daughter’s home in Antiqua.
“I moved from the homeless shelter into a quarter-million dollar condo,” said White. “From that day on my life radically changed.”
His boss also told him something else. He said he loved dogs and had something very important in mind for his employee.
“He advised me to not work in construction, but to help him with his dogs at his house,” said Asquit.
That was 27 years ago and he said life just keeps getting better for all concerned.
His wife lives in Pompano Beach now, where he visits as much as possible. He has two daughters, two sons, and five grandkids. His brothers and sisters are spread all around, and some still live in Antigua.
But mostly White travels around with his boss and the five dogs.
He also helps take care of the houses where he spends time making sure the dogs are well cared for.
All six will soon be on the road heading to Montauk, N.Y., for the summer and then back to Marco for eight months. An occasional trip to Colorado keeps him on the road with his charges.
In Montauk, the house is on the beach and the dogs spend hours running and swimming. They also love the lake.
“As companion to the dogs. I love them, they are my best friends,” he said. It is evident that the feeling is mutual.
Griffin and Winston are 13 ½ year old wirehaired Jack Russell Cairen Terriers from Mandeville, Long Island. Asta is a nine-year-old Fox Terrier from Indiana. Eight-year-old Sophie is a Welsh Terrier from Georgia. Her sister is Sadie Rose Peach Pie, also from Georgia,. She is the baby.
“They are best friends and I call all of them my Love Bugs, “said Asquit.
Because the Weiss family travels a lot, Asquit has the dogs with him at both houses. White’s main job is companion, caregiver, swim coach and ball thrower, personal trainer, driver, and best friend to the Weiss menagerie.
Photographer Salem Krieger has been taking pictures of Weiss’s real estate for several years. On one trip to Marco, Krieger took a picture of Asquit with all five dogs and it currently hangs on the walls in a New York subway station.
Boating is like going to Disneyworld
All the dogs love going out on the boat.
“It is like going to Disneyworld for them,” said White. “They love the boat rather than food … they love the boat rather than being home. They love to smell the ocean and run around on the sand bars. They are all great swimmers in the ocean … anywhere there is water … especially Sophie and Sadie, the Welsh Terriers who are fearless in the ocean and great swimmers.”
Finding his own space at bedtime is a challenge as all five dogs sleep in White’s queen-sized bed, each has their own established territory as close as possible.
“They prefer to sleep on my side, one between my feet, one under my arm. They use my feet as a pillow. I move to the other side and they all move to that side.”
In the morning the routine includes grooming and medication if needed, breakfast, morning walk and a swim in the pool. On Marco there are dolphins and manatees right by the dock.
“They really love that,” said White.
Two walks a day with five dogs might be a challenge for some -- but not for White.
“They are like soldiers,” he said.
Because Winston and Griffin are getting up in age they get a lot of home cooking with fish and lots of vegetables. The dog’s mom, Janet Weiss, raised them on string beans and carrots when they were puppies.
“So they love vegetables,” said White.
As for going to see Dr. Garrison and staff, they get excellent care.
White laughed and said, “They get better health care than me.”