Ship’s dog: Boating with the mighty pooch

If you’re searching for dog-friendly holidays, boating could be the way to go. This week, Michael, I and Bruce the pooch will be floating from one picturesque lake to the next on the Norfolk Broads at a super-chilled pace in the most relaxing week we’ll experience all year. In fact, the Norfolk Broads is my happy place.

A boating holiday is relaxing for everyone

A boating holiday is relaxing for everyone

This week will be Bruce’s fifth or sixth time as ship’s dog and he enjoys the changing view as we cruise down the rivers. He relishes the opportunities to leap off onto banks and jettys for a good sniff and game of fetch.

On deck, Bruce wears a small buoyancy aid, which sports a handle on top so we can lift him on and off the boat like a briefcase. Plus, should he fall in the water, we can slip a boat hook under the handle to fish him out. He gets plenty of attention in his little jacket, especially when he sits up front in the kayak as we paddle around the broads. Fortunately, he’s not yet felt the urge to leap in.

It’s best to buy your dog’s life jacket before your holiday, so you can get your pup used to wearing it and make sure it fits correctly. It needs to fit snugly, as if it’s too loose it will float away from your dog in the water. Equally, it shouldn’t be too snug around the neck, so that your dog can swim comfortably.

Evening on Malthouse Broad

Evening on Malthouse Broad

On the Broads we love to drop our mud weight and sleep anchored out in the broad overnight, so that our only neighbours are the occasional heron or family of moorhens. This does present the issue of Bruce’s bedtime toilet ritual. The first year we took him on a boat, we tried to encourage him to use a puppy pad on deck. That didn’t work – it simply made him nervous – so now we row him to the nearest shore for his last-time loo trip, which he rather enjoys. A poo with a view.

The three of us enjoying the evening sunshine on deck

The three of us enjoying the evening sunshine on deck last year

Evenings on the Broads are gorgeous. The view is incredible, we slow cook something delicious, pop the cork on a bottle of wine, turn the iPod to something summery and chilled like St Germain, and watch the sun slowly set. It’s unbeatable.

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Words: Aislinn Kelly

Email Aislinn:

The Mighty Pooch is a specialist dog photographers based in Yorkshire but happy to travel for photoshoots. Go behind the scenes of some of our shoots.

All the images in this article are taken on the iPhone and are not examples of our professional work.


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