Words and Images from Ed Felker

Dog Paddlin’


On a hot June Sunday afternoon, not quite ready to give up on the weekend and start the inevitable weekly descent into Monday, I grabbed Winnie and the kayak and hit the water.

With lots of animals and other sights that dogs find fascinating, both in the water and on shore, it’s my job to react quickly when my back seat driver switches sides to check something out.

Here we are on the Potomac River. Paddling upstream with a dog on the back, even in low summer flows, is good exercise for precisely 50% of us.

After a while I opted for the peaceful, slower current of the C&O Canal.

Six legs needed stretching, and those couple beers I brought aren’t gonna drink themselves either. So we took a break.

Before long, though, Winnie was ready to hit the water again. So we floated downstream back to the ramp.

A girl’s gotta dry her hair after a swim! What a fun afternoon with my girl. Winnie is a special dog, and the joy that comes from spending time with her doing things like this is hard to describe. It’s like spending time with a good friend. A friend who never drives, smells bad when she gets wet and always wants a sip of your beer. But a good friend. A best friend.

9 Responses

  1. That’s awesome! The last time I had my girl in our canoe, we flipped. lol. Your dogs are great!

    June 11, 2012 at 10:03 am

    • Thanks! I have thought about a canoe because I’d like to take both dogs. But canoes are *definitely* easier to tip. And with two dogs, one of them is going to be out of reach. The out of reach dog can easily flip it by just leaning out to look at a fish or something. I like the idea of paddling along with my dogs sitting quietly, but in reality it has disaster written all over it.

      June 11, 2012 at 10:06 am

      • I’ve never tried a kayak before but doubt it’ll fit my dog. Did yours come with a extra seat?

        June 11, 2012 at 11:04 am

        • No, that’s just a storage area behind me, pretty standard for sit-on-top models. I put two boat cushions back there for her, more for traction than for padding but it works well.

          June 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

  2. Well this has got to be one of my favorite posts of yours. It is such a perfect example of living well and enjoying uncomplicated honest things. When/if I get my kayak and take Loki out with me, I am probably going to have to have a waist leash because he is mentally challenged with regard to recalls. Plus I think he’ll freak out initially and I need to be able to reel him in if he launches himself into the water (where I suspect he will discover he cannot swim! but he has a PFD). In the canoe he was glued to my leg the entire time the first three times out. By the fourth time he was actually willing to look around and seemed to be expressing some interest in the surroundings.

    June 11, 2012 at 11:49 am

    • Aww, thanks so much, Carole, I’m pleased you enjoyed this! I probably should have had a tether of some sort, it occurred to me as I was paddling upstream, if she hopped off she would be pretty far downstream pretty quickly by the time I turned around and went after her. But I have a pretty high degree of confidence that, when it comes to Winnie, “Stay” means “Stay.”

      June 11, 2012 at 11:58 am

  3. Makes me want to get a dog so that I have a four-legged playmate. Wonderful post and what a great way to spend a hot DC day.

    June 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm

  4. Great post! Sounds like a nice relaxing way to finish the weekend (except for all of that paddling :-) )

    June 13, 2012 at 12:55 am

  5. Oh I bet she had a lot of fun!

    June 16, 2012 at 12:43 am

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