Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cruising with a Dog

I'm hardly an expert on this subject since we've only had Luna aboard Storyville for about 3 months, but I thought I would give my perspective on what it's like to cruise with a puppy. We've been cruising for over 2 years now (wow, time does fly when you're having fun!). Our last dog, Harley was already 12 or 13 when we started dreaming about going cruising on our boat. By the time we actually cut the dock lines, he had already gone to live with my daughter because he was over 15 and the boat life was just too difficult for him.

We decided that, even though we are both dog lovers, it would be difficult to cruise with a pet so, sadly, we made the decision to leave without a canine companion. I'm sure it was the right choice for us at the time. We already had so much to learn - a whole new way of life. One that we pictured to be carefree, with even less responsibilities. A pet just didn't fit into that scenario. We did learn a lot in those 2 years and while the cruising life is sometimes a carefree one, we quickly learned that there are still many responsibilities, just different ones than we faced while living on land.

About the time we hit our 2 year cruising anniversary, I started planning and dreaming about having a puppy on board to share our adventures. Maybe scheming would be the better word since I still had to convince Troy that this was a good idea and I knew that it would take some pretty smooth talking! I strategically waited until one night after happy hour and a few rum and cokes to bring up the subject. I was pleasantly surprised when he didn't just dismiss the idea outright. We actually had a great discussion that first night about the pros and cons of having a dog. It went something like this:

Deana - "I've been thinking that maybe we should consider getting a puppy"
Troy - "A dog is so much responsibility"
Deana - "Yes, but what else do we have to spend our time on?"
Troy - "A dog has to be exercised and taken for walks every day, even if it's raining"
Deana - "Yes, but more exercise would be good for all of us"
Troy - "But dogs are messy and they shed"
Deana - "But they’re fun, remember Sampson (a Border Terrier that belongs to our friends on s/v Virtue and Vice), he doesn't shed and he's a really cool dog"
Troy - "I only want a dog if it's a really cool one"
Deana - "Of course our dog will be really cool!"

After that, I knew that I had my foot in the door. We spent many hours that first night talking about the pros and cons of having a dog and we finally agreed that it might not be so bad to have a puppy to love. Before he could change his mind I started doing research to find us a puppy that would be the best fit for us.
I brought Luna home to Storyville in early December. She’s a Border Terrier, she is a great size for a boat dog (she should be somewhere between 11 and 15 pounds), she doesn’t shed and, of course, she’s a really cool and adorable dog with a great big personality!

We’ve had loads of fun taking her to the beach, hiking trails or even just walking her through town. Yes, having a dog on board definitely adds another level of responsibility to our lives but I can tell you that it’s so worth it. We’re looking forward to enjoying many years with her.

We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment. ~George Eliot

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner


Jane Behr said...

What a sweetie! I agree, this is the perfect size for a boat dog.

Jane Behr said...

But, I should say - my cats would eat Luna for lunch. :)

John said...

You wrote this article when she was three months old, I bet you have found out since that Border Terriers do indeed shed. Not as much as some breeds, but they do shed. We thought that as well before owning two of them. We would not trade them for the world, they are the best dogs ever, and the perfect size for traveling. They are small enough to be convenient, but big and rugged enough not to be delicate, and SO full of personality. They do not get along with cats (they see them as prey) unless they are raised with them, so with all due respect to Jane, don't think a cat is safe around them.

Troy and Deana Jones said...

Yes, John, she does shed, but you are right, it is minimal. What a wonderful addition she has been to our family though. She is the perfect size for the boat and a great traveler. She also loves to swim and play at the beach! We love our Luna.