I realized a tiny dream this past weekend…
I have a dog who will go paddling with me.
It all started many years ago when I saw this guy peacefully paddling his cedar strip canoe past my in-law’s cabin with his trusty golden retriever sitting calmly amidships. I thought, “I want that someday!”
I tried coaxing my father-in-law’s dog, Maddie, into a canoe, but she wasn’t into the whole paddling thing. She sort of blew it on the “sitting calmly” part of the dream.
I will never have the “cedar strip canoe” part of the dream, because I gave my stalled out wood strip canoe project away to my nephew, Josh. But I do own a pretty, baby blue, 17-foot Core Craft canoe. And I own a pretty, 75-pound, almost white, yellow lab. And on the first day of July, the two came together to fulfill my tiny dream on West MacDonald Lake.
How the Dream Took Shape
Lydia and I coaxed Jack into the canoe and cast off before he could change his mind. The ride was pretty exciting at first, as Jack walked from one side of the canoe to the other, threatening to tip us at any moment. Every half a minute paddling stopped and white knuckles grabbed the gunwales. (Be sure that even though I spell out “gunwales,” I pronounce it “gunnels” like any good sea captain would. This along with my use of, and correct spelling of, “amidships” must convince you that I am the real deal in the world of expert paddlers.) When we asked Jack to sit, he would flop all his weight against the side of the canoe as if it was a backrest, and we would travel along tipped at a scary angle.
After quite a while, he laid down right in the middle of the bottom of the canoe and we had smooth sailing. Toward the end he got a little whiny, I think because he missed his loving grandfather. Or he just longed to run and jump again with firm ground under his feet.
So, yippee for me! I have a dog who will go paddling with me when nobody else wants to. And who knows, maybe the sight of Jack and me exploring the lake together will inspire some other kid to buy a 50-year-old, used canoe and a two-year-old used dog and live out the dream.
At 9:30pm, Jack and I went for a moonlight paddle. We got to try out my new LED running lights and we marveled at how bright the world was under the almost full moon. And Jack laid still most of the time.