• Sage Webb

Dogs of the Docks + the Under-Appreciated “Joys” of Boat Life

I shall start with a paean to the piratical pooches of Poseidon. Many, many boats in the marinas in which I’ve lived have hosted boat dogs. These little (and occasionally big) crew members did not choose this life, but they sure brighten it. They comfort their captains in times of illness and anxiety, “guard” their boats and bosuns, and enliven any dinner (no, they don’t all beg for scraps, but mine sure does).

They ride in laundry wagons, directing the performance of chores, and they navigate during trips to the post office. They chill in the cockpit on sunny days, and sometimes sneak out to frolic in the grass at the end of the dock when no one is looking (yes, it happens), and make new friends easily. When a front rolls through and things get chilly and damp, they provide better heat in the berth than any space heater.

Their love covers the potholes of having to schlep up the dock in the cold and rain to do laundry. (Or of the loss of living space precipitated by not schlepping. See below. The Bosun has been reduced to recycling socks. I have simply eschewed socks, despite the cold and damp.) With tiny sinks that make dish washing a bit of a hassle, sometimes dishes sleep in the cockpit till a more convenient wash time arises. But boat dogs don’t complain about the disarray. They embrace these under-appreciated “joys” of boat life. And they may assist with cleaning.

They join in on philosophical discussions and ruminations about defining “the good life,” about Plato and Epicurus.

They cuddle for the reading of a good book. And they don’t complain (too much) about having to walk in the rain “for miles” up the dock and back to do the things they “need” to do. Boat dogs are boat boons.

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