Do’s & Don’ts of Pet Boating
I am amazed at your responses to Gregg Chandler's and Noreen Brendan-Rowe’s letters in [the October issue’s] Mail Drop concerning boating with dogs. You are obviously very biased and lack consideration for the folks who enjoy “peace and quiet”. Now, I’m not a dog person or a cat person. My wife and I cruise extensively with another couple who have a dog as part of their crew. Here’s a list of some do’s and don’ts to be considerate or others and keep the peace for all boaters, sail, power, left or right coast:
Do keep your dog leashed.
Do be considerate of others.
Do pick up your dog droppings.
Do not bring your dog to boat shows.
Do not bring your dog into restrooms.
Do not allow your dog to block the dock.
Do not leave your barking dog on your boat while ashore.
Voice for Many
More power to Gregg for expressing the viewpoint of many, many people on the issue of noisy dogs. Both dog owners and non-dog owners alike are sick and tired of nosy dogs, both at sea and on land. If you want to own any animal, respect the rights of others and stop being inconsiderate as many dog owners are.
And you, the editor of “Mail Drop”, need to respect the right of people to express their views in your column without rebuttal. You are supposed to be an unbiased forum.
Please cancel my subscription immediately.
On the Prowl
Of course a lot of older cruising folks have pets which we are reluctant to leave behind. Many of us have dogs but since most boats will have limited living space, a cat makes a more reasonable boat pet. Cats are generally quiet, self tending, chase away rats and roosting gulls, and, if you are lucky, are warm and cozy. We have had dogs and cats aboard. While I admit that dogs are admirable creatures and certainly more intelligent than cats, they can't be trained to use a litter box. Better for a house and yard than a boat.
My wife and I concur that our best boat pet was a Norwegian Fishing Cat. It loved to swim and was hard to keep out of the water. These cats were bred in Norway and Iceland and were trained to help fishermen capture the “one that got away.” When a fish slipped off the hook, the cat would leap off the boat and with its webbed feet, “pounce” on the escaped cod or mackerel and bring it back. As a reward, the cat would get to eat an occasional fish.
Olaf, our Norwegian Fishing Cat, spent his younger years aboard a fishing smack, diving in to retrieve the one that “almost” got away. In a typical day he would catch a dozen or more large fish, bringing them back to the boat. He more than earned his keep. But the cold water takes its toll. Cat fishing is a young feline’s game.
Our cat was retired after ten years of honorable service. My wife’s uncle sent Olaf to us to live out his remaining years. He had developed arthritis and was retired to the balmy climes of upstate New York. Most of the fish he ate came out of cans. Olaf spent his summers paddling around our pond with an occasional jump into the Hudson River from our boat. Every few days we would throw him a couple of herring so he would feel at home.
Olaf passed away quietly in has sleep, aged 21, after consuming six cans of brisling sardines. He had a smile on his whiskers and his breath smelled like a cannery. I can picture him today in Feline Valhalla attended by 70 nubile female kitties, gorging on smoked salmon with a cream cheese chaser. It would be hard to find a more suitable boat pet.
This article originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.