They’re furry. They’re cute. And they poop. Every day. Twice.
No, I’m not talking about our boys, though the description still works. I’m talking about boat dogs.Our extra crew members, Brodie and Ollie, are not only adorable, but also help make our boat feel like a home. When at port, they remain the most photographed members of our crew by passers-by, and at sea they—well, let’s face it, they don’t do much, being dogs and all.
They are learning to adjust to life at sea. They each have a life jacket that they wear when we are underway, and they are slowly learning to go pee on a little grass pad on the deck. Emphasis on the word slowly.
There have been many a cold morning when I stand on deck with the dogs urging them to “go potty!” on the pad, every fiber of my being willing them to pee, too often unsuccessfully. As the saying should go, a watched dog never pees.
Is it a challenge having dogs on board? Absolutely. Ollie is my early morning alarm clock, even on the rare day I could sleep in. Brodie barks at birds; he barks at other boats; he even barks at buoys. All of which number in the hundreds along the ICW.
Then there is the matter of where to take them for exercise.
While at dock it’s as easy as living on land—you just take them for a walk. At anchor, however, it means a dinghy ride to shore, IF you have the luxury of a convenient beach or town nearby.
They have chewed up things, peed on things, fallen overboard, and brought home sand, mud, and stickers in their fur. Still talking about the dogs, not the kids.
Traveling to a foreign country only complicated matters, as there are tests to be done and paperwork to fill out, all within a fairly restrictive timeframe.
Is this why pirates had parrots as pets? I can’t imagine Blackbeard or Henry Morgan standing around on deck in the wee hours of the morning trying to cajole a dog to “go potty”.
Having said all of that…the dogs are wonderful! They are our little furry family members.
They snuggle up next to us at night and entertain us with their hilarious personalities. They alert us of visitors while at anchor, and can make a long watch at the helm feel a bit less lonely.
They are ridiculously fun to have on board, adding so much to the cruising experience that we can’t imagine doing it without them! Who wants a pet that squawks “pieces of eight!” all the time, anyway?