Sailing with a Dog? Pet Travel Tuesday

I love reading an armchair adventure. And A Sea Dog’s Tale: The True Story of a Small Dog on a Big Ocean (affiliate link – see my full review at A Traveler’s Library) is a good armchair adventure. With puppies!

But true-life adventure stories always make me think. Could I do the same thing? What would my family think? And, most importantly, how adventurous would Honey be?

Currently, my favorite adventure stories involve sailing the oceans. And I’m particularly interested in reading about people who sail with their beloved animals.

Most sailing adventures that include animals are about cats. It’s not surprising. Cats are well suited to sailing with their agility, compact size, and willingness to use a litter box. But many of these stories don’t end well for the cats.

If you’re a cat lover who likes sailing stories, send me an email and I’ll give the list of books to avoid.

A sailing cat watches from a top the sailboat boom.

Click on image to learn more about the photographer.

In reading tales of sailing with cats, it seems to me that, unfortunately, the cavalier attitude many people have about keeping cats safe on land continues at sea. “C’mon people,” I scream at the books. “Tether that cat when the weather gets bad. Bring her below at night. And for dog’s sake, get up and explore when you hear a splash. Arrrgh.”

Dogs are more complicated on a boat.

Many dogs are bigger than cats. They’re not nearly as agile on a moving deck. And some of them never adapt to eliminating on a boat’s deck, holding their urine for up to 3 days at a time! In those cases, sailors plan their routes to make more frequent landfalls. And if you think walking a dog on a rainy day is a drag, imagine if the walk was preceded by a cold, wet dinghy ride.

These extra complications cause people to think carefully before sailing with a dog. I think it also makes people more conscious of the responsibility they have for their pet’s care. After all, dogs are not so independent that people will think of them as needing little or no attention. You know they’re going to be a needy nuisance from the very beginning (but I mean that in the nicest way).

Sailing with dogs collage.

1) Jack sailing aboard Gilana, 2) Duke sailing aboard Karma, 3) Loki sailing aboard Infinity. Click to enlarge.

And yet, despite the difficulties, people sail with their dogs. I even know of one couple who sailed with two (yes, two) golden retrievers on a 40 foot sailboat. And we met several couples who sailed or sail with their dogs on our recent trip to the San Blas islands.

Could we do it too? Could Honey?

I’m not sure. But I do know that adventures must be suited to the adventurers.

I don’t see Honey’s adventures looking like those of Santos, the schipperke who appears in The Sea Dog’s Tale. Instead of chasing cars on land, being kidnapped, and swimming in crocodile-filled African rivers, Honey’s adventures would suit her personality.

Honey the Golden Retriever goes sailing.

This would be a perfect sail if only someone would get me a pillow.

Perhaps they’d involve making friends with children visiting in their dugout canoe. Or chasing coconuts on the beach. Or maybe even stopping in to visit blogging friends who live in coastal cities in North America, England, South Africa, Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand. Now that would be a fun adventure!

Whatever adventures await us, they’ll only happen if Honey will be safe and happy in the middle of them. After all, no adventure is better than the adventure of a loving and meaningful relationship with the animals we love.

If you like reading adventure stories, here’s your chance to win a copy of A Sea Dog’s Tale. Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Note: Books I give away are usually new or pristine. This is the copy I read for my review. It has some light signs of use. But it has been all the way to Panama and back.

Disclaimer & photo credits: The link to A Sea Dog’s Tale will take you to Amazon. If you order this book or another item after following the link, I will make a small commission. Thank you so much for supporting Something Wagging This Way Comes. The photo of Jack is used with permission of Laura Brasler. Sailing cat – dongato via photopin cc

Your Turn: Do you dream of going on an adventure? Do you see your animals enjoying it as well?

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. I’d love nothing more than to have an adventure with my pups! I’m not sure I could be on a boat for that long, but I wouldn’t mind either a long camping/hiking/driving adventure!

    Monty and Harlow

    • I’m not big on driving and highways. But I have to admit that Mary of Roxy the Traveling Dog and Amy of Go Pet Friendly have gotten me envious of seeing lots of beautiful places in an RV with Honey.

  2. Other than making sure my dogs stay on the boat, I never thought about the poop complications of boat traveling with a dog. I guess there could also be issues with sea sickness. And how can you exercise your dog if you can’t take him for a walk? Interesting. I’d like to read this book about sea dogs.

    • I’ve heard of people who planned to cross oceans who decided to coastal cruise or island hop instead once their dog refused to potty on the boat.

      As for exercising, most dogs seem to do well swimming, climbing up steep companionway steps, and hopping in and out of dinghys. The smells at sea seem to be pretty interesting to a dog so they get plenty of stimulation. But, as you can imagine, most dogs get some serious zoomies when they hit dry land.

      Good luck in the contest to win the book. I think you’d enjoy it.

  3. I would love to do a road trip around the US with my Rogue, but think sailing would be a bit beyond his comfort level!

  4. I took my collie onto a Canadian canoe for the first time this summer while we were on holiday in France. He loved it and spent his time trying to catch the water or get out of the boat to catch the (plastic) ducks. It is a memory I shall treasure forever!

    • What a lucky collie!

      I take Honey kayaking pretty regularly and we both love it! It’s wonderful to see all the amazing scents she picks up on.

  5. I guess there could also be problems with sea sickness. And how can you work out your dog if you can’t take him for a walk? Interesting. I’d like to read this book about sea dogs.


  1. […] [NOTE: WIN THIS BOOK and read more of Pam's thoughts about sailing dogs at Something Wagging This Way Comes.] […]