Summer Boating With Your Pet

July 30, 2018

This past weekend I took a day off to spend a gorgeous full day out on the lake with my husband.  As we loaded our watercraft into the water, I noticed a family on the opposite side of the dock about to embark on their own fun day on the lake, and they had a pretty adorable, very young yet eager four-legged friend with them. I instantly felt worry in my heart for him because he was so young, and didn’t have a life jacket and this was probably his first trip ever on a boat.   


Wait, what? A life jacket for dogs? I'm serious!  I have life jackets for my dogs. Spy is a pretty good swimmer, but Oakley isn't, so I don’t like to take any chances with either of them.  Until that one time, in the Summer of 2017.  See, Oakley enjoys her life jacket. Spy however, HATES his. He gives me that “are you serious mom” look when I am done strapping him in.  He loves the boat, but hates the jacket. but I don't care. He wears it anyway. At one point that day, we were just floating about, and he was so not enjoying any single moment of it. So I took his jacket off, so he could freely stick his nose in the air and take in all the nature smells, so he could lay out in the sun and soak up some heat that he loves so much. He loves his freedom. When we decided it was time to head back, my husband fired up the boat, and we took off. I didn’t put his jacket back on because it wasn’t a far trip, and our confidence in Spy’s common sense was good enough that we figued he'd be okay. Well he soured that thought when not 5 minutes later I looked back to check on him and he's on the edge and jumping off the back of the moving boat!!  


Panic sets in.


I screamed at my husband to stop the boat..cut the engine! I ran to the back, I couldn’t see my Spy. Called out for him. Where did he go?  Then suddenly, in what felt like a lifetime later, and just as I was about to jump in to look for him, I see in the near-distance his panicked little face pop up out of the water and he starts swimming with all his might towards us. I reached down and grabbed his collar, and pulled him back up and straight into the towel that my husband had waiting for him. He was shaken, but okay.  I'm pretty sure he didn't expect that to happen when he leaped off the side of the boat! Once he was settled, we put his jacket back on, fired up, and headed back to shore.  That was enough for one day.


Lesson learned.


We don’t know what prompted him to jump in the water.. maybe he saw something interesting, he's never as much as tried anything like that before, moving or not. But still, I should have put his jacket back on, it would have been less traumatic.. (for me? For him?) If that was Oakley who had fallen in without her jacket, it might have been different. She’s not as good a swimmer as Spy. But knowing that, hers never came off. She doesn’t seem to mind it anyway.


Anyway. When I saw that little pup on the dock this past weekend, this experience was all I could picture. So I wanted to share my story, and a web link that I found for boater safety with your pet. Check it out, it might come in handy for your next trip on the waters!


Happy Summering everyone!

Erin :)



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