First let me say we love our 473 and for a couple in our late 50s/early 60s, we find it very easy to sail and boat maintenance
so burdensome that it outweighed the advantages. But congrats on finding the boat for you, how exciting your future is shaping up to be!
Regarding your dog, Bear, we have been traveling for nearly two years in the Caribbean
with two cats and have many friends that have dogs
on board. Having pets
on board does add one more later of complexity, but if you are like us it is worth the reward of having our pets
with us. I believe the comment about Trinidad not to be true these days, Trinidad has been changing their policies lately. As for the Dominica
comment that was just BS, one of our closest boat friends is traveling with a lab and they love Dominica
and spend a lot of time there on shore with their dog and have never had a problem. It is true that it is easier in the French Islands, they don't even make you declare them. The reality is that if you have a current
rabies Titer report (note, they all want to see rabies vaccination once a year -- US typically vaccinates every three years), current/up to date vaccination records and with a health
certificate now and then you will be fine. FYI, other than being somewhat of a hassle, getting a health
certificate from the government
vet in most of the islands is really easy and cheap
by US standards. In Grenada
they are free and you don't even take the pet with you. The BVI
was the most expensive and strict island we have been too, the costs was $30 US and you have to take the pet with you but they never took our cats out of their carriers. When you are getting ready to enter the BVIs PM me and I can give you some more info that will make it easier.
Sailing with a pet is all about keeping your paperwork well organized and up to date. Good luck!