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Posts Tagged ‘dogs on boats’

Russ built this boat for Cooper. When we were choosing our dog, we wanted one who would love the water and who would go on our boat with us. It’s just that Cooper left us before the boat was finished. So the job of inaguarating our boat, the Spainnear Uisce, fell to Tooey and Carlin.

And they both reminded us today that we are novices at this whole dogs-and-boats thing.

First, we didn’t consider that some dogs aren’t always thrilled with the sounds of an outboard motor or the tippiness of boats. Tooey was fine, but Carlin was a touch nervous. But finally, when he realized that he could look out the window and sniff all the strange and wonderful scents off the water, he was fine.

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Our plan had been to start out by boating out to an island in the Columbia river and pull into a small marina that was adjacent to a park.

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There were some other folks there (not surprising on a holiday weekend), but that didn’t stop us from also following the middle part of our plan, which was to let the dogs out for a swim and a run-around. The dogs loved that part. They ran up and down the beach, Carlin mostly with a bumper in his mouth (I think he kept it there primarily to keep it away from Tooey, who did snatch it away from him once or twice). They swam and ran around, swam and ran around, drank some river water, and swam some more. Tooey is the real water hound — she loves to be in it whenever possible. And she loves to drink whatever she’s swimming in.

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We returned to the boat, got some pictures in, pulled some grass awns from the dogs’ feet, and enjoyed sitting around enjoying the scenery. Tooey was happy to star in a photo or two.

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But she really didn’t want to be in the cabin with us. She wanted out. Probably, we thought, just to run on the beach some more, and swim.

Finally, we decided it was time to execute the remaining part of our plan, which was to leisurely circumnavigate another island before turning back to return to the boat dock. It was early afternoon yet. We had lots of time.

The dogs, especially Tooey, seemed to be a bit agitated, but finally, they both relaxed and acted like they’d been in boats their whole lives.

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Here is where the next lesson came in. I’m not sure if this was simple naivete on our part, or some kind of plan by the Irish boat gods to remind us who is in charge. We had never really christened the boat except with a few meager drops of Scotch whiskey, and I think that must have been our undoing. Because apparently the aforesaid gods decided to use an Irish dog to teach us a lesson in properly anointing a boat given an Irish name.

We got underway, and were out in the middle of the navigation channel when Tooey started to moan. Uh oh. That was clear enough. She had to pee. So we turned immediately back toward the boat dock, figuring we’d make it in time. Tooey has been known to hold it all day and all night before, so we weren’t too worried. But then the moaning got louder and more insistent. We cranked up the speed.

For some reason, it didn’t occur to either of us to just let her out of the cabin and into the cockpit. That’s all just fiberglass back there. But we didn’t, and finally she couldn’t stand it anymore. She hopped into the farthest reaches of the boat she could get into and let go. And what was that space? The V-berth in the cuddy cabin, where someday soon we hope to sleep overnight in our new boat.

Poor Tooey. She was not at all happy with peeing indoors, and she just couldn’t help it. What’s a girl to do after having tried to drink half the Columbia River?

Fortunately, we’d covered the V-berth with an old flannel sheet, which soaked up quite a bit. But not all.

It’ll be all right. The mattress cover is removable and washable, and I had almost a whole gallon of Nature’s Miracle to spray on the mattress and the cover. And we learned a lesson. When the girl wants out, figure out a way to let her go. And make sure to find a way to christen your boat properly, or else.

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Yes, Tooey, that Tolman hat does look really good on you.

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And yes, our newly finished Tolman boat is named Spáinnéar Uisce. And yes, that means Water Spaniel.

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So who better, you ask, to go boating on the Spáinnéar Uisce than a Water Spaniel, such as yourself?

I know. You’re right. There is no one better.

All we need is a non-rainy weekend day, when neither Russ nor I are working or training, and no other guests are joining us. That day, we’ll take you boating.

We promise.

But for now, I’ll just abbreviate the story. The one about the dog who loved water, one who would go boating with us. We looked for that dog, and we found him, our Cooper. He went boating once, with us and a friend on her boat. I know he would have loved to go boating on ours. But he left us too soon.

So now it is up to Tooey and Carlin to take up their posts, and go boating on the Spáinnéar Uisce.

Soon.

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Today we had the great good fortune to test our theory. Back when we were looking for our next dog, we wanted one who could go boating with us. We’ve had several boats, and if you’ve also been looking at the boat blog, you know that Russ has been building our next boat, a cabin cruiser. We figured that a dog with “water” in it’s name would be a good choice, so we looked mostly at Portuguese Water Dogs and Irish Water Spaniels, plus Poodles and Labrador Retrievers, among others.

Annie, who has a sailboat and a sweet little IWS girl, Stella, invited the three of us along on a boat ride up the Columbia River to Government Island. We don’t yet have a life preserver for Coop, so in the picture above, he’s wearing a red harness with a large handle along the back for somewhat easier retrieval, should there be a “dog overboard.” (There wasn’t — Coop was really good and generally calm, even when the motor started up.)

It was a fun day. Warm and sunny, especially when you consider that it’s November in the Pacific Northwest, and calm (we had to motor, rather than sail). We got to the island, ran up the boat ramp, persuaded Cooper not to go down the cliff (he wanted to get to the beach already!), and took a short hike to the level, sandy beach, where we threw sticks into the water for the pups to chase. (In the first picture below, Cooper is the one on the left with the stick. He generally always got to the stick first — I think because he has longer legs and is a stronger swimmer than Stella, who is on the right.)

And at the end of the day, after drying off in the sun, we were heading back toward the boat (darn it that we didn’t have a camera ready!) when Cooper jumped off the dock! If you’ve read earlier entries, you know how disappointed we were that Cooper wouldn’t jump off the dock at the dock diving events we’ve tried. His father, Balloo, was such a talented dock diver, that we had high hopes for Cooper. And now, when we don’t want him to, Cooper goes and jumps off the dock. Apparently, there was stick in the river that he just HAD to have.

In the middle picture below, you can just make out Mt. Hood, just right of Cooper’s nose.
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