The new paddle boards arrived at the shop a few weeks back and you can bet that the first thing the dock staff did was take them out for a spin! When my turn came up I stepped off of the dock and onto the board with all of the confidence that a few hours of Floridian paddle boarding experience can give you. Thankfully, there was hardly a ripple on the pond; perfect conditions to regain your balance and rediscover a proficient forward stroke. It wasn’t long before I was doing laps around the cove and walking around on the board as if it were an extension of the dock!
That’s when I heard the bell. No, it wasn’t signaling the start of school (that was still a few weeks off) nor was it calling the rescue crew into action. It was the sound of Morton, our young (50lb) shop dog, the bell jingling from his neck as he raced from the shop to the docks to say “good morning!” In typical fashion, Morton came barreling down the hill and slid onto the docks stopping just short of the water. He’s a bit timid for a half-Labrador Retriever when it comes to getting wet. He usually paws at the water for a few minutes before he commits to the “shallow-end” where he likes to walk around and dig for fresh-water muscles. This time he decided to jump right in and swim over toward me to check out what I was standing on!
It was as if Morton finally realized that he was swimming at the exact moment that he reached the paddle board. He threw his front paws up onto the front of the board and pulled himself out of the water. I dropped down to my knees to gain some stability as Morton set out to explore every inch of its eight-foot-long extent! He walked back and forth between my legs about a half dozen times before he decided to settle down and sit by the bow. From there he took in the scenery, drank the splash that lapped up on the bow and enjoyed the ride back to the dock! Now, every time we take the paddle board out after work we make sure to invite Morton along for a ride!
Morton is a great example of how small to mid-sized dogs that are comfortable with the water can really enjoy a trip on the paddle board! It’s probably best to only take the dog out when the conditions are light such that they can remain comfortable and the paddler can retain control of the board. Also, it’s always a great idea for the dog (and the paddler) to wear a life jacket while paddle-boarding regardless of swimming ability. For a nice dog PFD check out the MTI UnderDOG…Morton really seems to like wearing his!