… on intro to boating (canine edition)

So… what’s the best gift you can give a little Rescue Hownd, who wants to be by your side no matter what?

Like, even if you are going to be near (or on) the thing she hates-slash-fears-slash-is-repelled-by more than almost anything else (other than very small dogs with attitude)?


A life vest.


Well, this is a dog who is beyond disappointed that the water at her beach comes and gets her.

You don’t remember? Hang on.

Here you go…

Honestly, this hownd is not just disappointed, but offended, by the fact that the water here comes in waves.

She doesn’t even like her feet wet.

You would think this means that she does not like to step in puddles, or wade into water. But no.

If there is dew… dew… on the morning grass, she’s high-stepping all over, trying to find a place to do her morning business. She will actually hold one paw up at a time, in tripod fashion, as she sprints (inelegantly) to the door to be let back inside.

She has her own umbrella for when it rains. John holds it for her (because thumbs).

Every bit of that is true.

But this is also a hownd who wants to be with us, as much as possible. Every second would be acceptable.

And now we have a boat.


Over the past weeks, John and I have taken the boat out, just the two of us, to get used to her. We’ve gone north and then south and east and west (and lots of combinations of each). We’ve been out on calm water and rolling water… amongst whitecaps and excessive traffic. We’ve gotten used to our GPS (often comparing it to our waterproof, paper chart (because what if our electronics go on the fritz?!)), gauges, and hand-held marine radio…

Note: The power one feels when operating the marine radio is not something that people tell you about. The jolt of dopamine I feel when getting a response from the local bridge operators, saying they will open the bridge for us to pass through… it’s amazing. I should also note that you should always use the word ‘Roger’ after you are done with whatever it is you are saying or requesting on the radio. Otherwise people won’t answer you… and you will spend a week or more with your online manual, trying to figure out why your brand new hand-held radio isn’t working. 

We didn’t want to bring the dogs with us, or another person, until we felt comfortable that we could tool around safely, as we are both graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary course in Boating Skills and Seamanship. Actually, our neighbor is also a graduate. The three of us agree that the course was designed to scare the desire to own a boat right out of us, and should have been called the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary course in How to Not Die or Kill Anyone Else With or In Your Boat.

Having been frightened, horrified, and alarmed (thesaurus.com) by a volunteer force in official uniforms, and issued a card (laminate-able) when we passed our final exams, we feel a certain obligation to the boating universe (and life in general).


No dogs or extra people on the boat until we were comfortable in applying our ‘don’t die or introduce death to anyone else on the boat’ lessons.

But today?

Today was the day.

Blaze was happy to stay home and watch over the house, after chuckling at Belle’s life jacket of course.

But here’s the thing.

With her aversion to all things water and wet (the look on her face during bath time tugs at the hardest of hearts), we have absolutely no idea if this dog can swim!

In addition, her personal buoyancy level has never been observed. This is a safety issue of the first order.

Also, we want our dogs to have a handle – a literal handle – on them, should they fall into the water.


They’ll be like little paddling suitcases we can just scoop up from the watery conveyer belt, and plop back into the boat (after the initial panic of course).

We could not scream ‘rookies’ more if we … well… if we basically screamed ‘rookies’ at everyone.


Would Belle be okay with us putting on her life jacket?

Would she actually get into the boat?

Would she then not try to actively – and at regular or irregular intervals – get out of the boat?

Would we still be able to focus? Be safe? Make our Coast Guard Auxiliary instructors proud?


Heading Out…

Checking in…

Encouragement from the Helm…

Seal Spotting…

Yep, it’s official.

We have a boat dog.

Well, more specifically, a Boat Hownd.

We are so proud.

One senior princess of a ShepHerd to go and we will officially be a boating household!

Stay tuned, and thanks for readin’.

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