Maggie Melodrama and the Canoe Saga
I had lost my Beagle Penny and took it pretty hard about 3 months before my boon canine companion Maggie came to me by way of a friend. He knew the hole in my life this had left for me. He found her abandoned on a dirt road in the woods of central GA. She was in the road as he drove into his hunting camp, and she ran off the road into a culvert. He managed to coax her out. She was about 4-5 weeks old at the time and probably a Lab/Chow mix. She is intelligent and very obedient, understanding a remarkable amount of what I say to her. She has this tendency to mistrust strange men and also a very cautious nature about doing something new to herÖ especially if I try to persuade her before she is ready to try it. My Son coined the phrase ďMaggie MelodramaĒ to describe her reaction at such times. I believe she may have been from a litter that a low life wanted to use for dog fighting. Given her nature she didnít make the grade when probably tested for aggression so was just dropped off in the woods to feed the coyotes. What follows is how she came to be a canoeing companion.
She is now 9 years old and her black lab coat of fur is turning white on her face and feet. She likes to go with me everywhere, but unlike a pure lab she doesnít care for water. We once went for a powerboat ride about 4 years ago and she definitely didnít enjoy the experience. If I go swimming she wonít join me. If I throw a stick in the water she doesnít go after it. When I took up sea kayaking about 3 1/2 years ago she had no interest in getting in the boat. I donít make her do something she doesnít like so she stays on shore or home when I paddle. Though I live in a small town I am lucky to have a rural place with woods, fields and a 3 acre pond only about 3-4 miles from our house. Maggie and I have walked this property for years and it is a favorite pastime of ours. When I took up kayaking the pond was a very convenient place to practice paddling and rescue skills. Maggie would stay on shore and watch or roam but always turn her head away when I would encourage her to get in the boat. She would also look concerned when I would flip the boat and wet exit.
Now some may know from my questions on the Advice Forum about used solo canoes etc. that I have also gotten back into canoeing. Given my age I purchased a used Kevlar Explorer for Carol and me to take to the everglades this past January as Carol had some concerns about kayaking. As a result of this trip it rekindled my love of canoeing. Now Of course a canoe is a much more suitable craft for including a dog as a passenger. Maggie however didnít concur with this assessment. She would walk along the shore paralleling me as I paddled on the pond. It was obvious she wanted to join me, but couldnít bring herself to take the plunge so to speak. So I took her with me one day when I decide to put in on Clouds Creek not far from home, and somewhere she had never been. She was all excited about the trip until she realized I was going to put her in the canoe, and she immediately went into her melodramatic mode. I put her in anyway. She settled down quickly but wasnít really happy. There happened to be a couple young men paddling a canoe downstream toward us. Now this got Maggieís interest and she started barking at them as they paddled by. I told them she didnít really want to be on the creek in a canoe, and now was acting like she owned it. This did alter her mood and she was showing an interest in things other than her predicament. After I paddled as far up stream as I wanted I pulled out and we had a snack on shore and she got to run around some. When it came time to leave she went back into the melodramatic mode again but realized she had to get in that dang canoe. So I was able to encourage her to jump in on her own in spite of her misgivings. It looked like we were making progress, However, when we got back to the take out as I paddled past it she stared at the car and became concerned as we didnít get out. Latter when we did she jumped out and ran to the car. When I approached the car she started jumping at the door asking in her way to get in now! It was apparent that she was glad to be out of the boat, and I still had my work cut out for me to convince her that it was fun.
She would turn away still when ask to get in the canoe at the pond. I didnít make her get back in until about a month latter when my son and I put the tandem in the pond to paddle some. His little Boston Terrier/daschound jumped in and swam out to the boat and we pick him out the water and put him in the boat. I decided that I would go back to shore and get Maggie too in spite of her intransience. Well with Buddyís exuberance she seemed to get over her concern much quicker this time. She still didnít show any inkling of wanting to get in a canoe when asked the next several times I took my used Curtis solo tripper paddling at the pond, and though I would invite her to join me she would still turn away. Then one day in early June when I set the canoe down at the pond edge for a paddle much to my surprise she jumped in on her own. I still had to get my paddles and gear so I expected her to get out before I could castoff. Surprise, surprise she waited in the canoe while I loaded the canoe and pushed it into the water. Ever since that day she has jumped in as if this is as much her idea as it was mine.
Maggie has proved old dogs can learn new tricks. So now I have had to learn to paddle a bow heavy solo or add weight behind me as a counter balance. Maggie rarely will let me paddle solo. I guess now what I actually have is a rather small tandem and a canoe hound!
Cartop Kayak Carriers
Canoe / Kayak Anchors
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Posted by: dougd on Aug-23-13 2:23 PM (EST)
I just lost my paddling buddy of almost 13 years. Ol' Sadie Dawg loved the canoe and was always bummed when I left her home. Enjoy the time with your partner as it really is a special time with them!
So sorry for your loss|
Posted by: castoff on Aug-24-13 8:40 AM (EST)
Doug, I know the pain from my own experience, and read your post on Sadie Dawg. I am so pleased that Maggie decided to join me in the canoe, and plan to enjoy her company on trips in the future where possible.
Posted by: puffingin on Aug-23-13 2:44 PM (EST)
Good for Maggie! Your patient understanding of her paid off. Sounds like her first trip in the canoe left her ambivalent but not totally against it. She got to decide if and when she wanted to try canoeing with you.
Puffingin here is what I did with|
Posted by: castoff on Aug-24-13 8:54 AM (EST)
that's a pretty nice story, enjoyed it|
Posted by: pilotwingz on Aug-24-13 2:41 PM (EST)
..... nephew got a Black Lab pup less than a year ago .
Nice dog tale yourself (pun intended)|
Posted by: castoff on Aug-25-13 10:13 AM (EST)
I like the name "inspector"! Maggie has to sniff everything so I often call her nosy.
You folks are making me jealous|
Posted by: TommyC1 on Aug-26-13 11:57 AM (EST)
I get asthma from dog dander. Been that way since I was a baby.
Water - yes, no, and maybe|
Posted by: taj on Aug-26-13 12:25 PM (EST)
Up until Memorial Day weekend I had a Brittany for my hiking, kayaking, and fishing buddy. I still have my wife's two beagles. When the Britt was about 6 months old I introduced him to flowing water. He was reluctant to get close to the creek bank as the whole rushing water thing of the kayak park that we were at seemed a bit overwhelming. We followed the creek upstream above the whitewater to a shallow sandbar and again approached the bank. I waded out in the water while he watched from "safety." When I called him and gave a gentle pull on his leash he anchored in place and looked a bit nervous. Okay, I thought, a little more help. I picked him up gently with encouraging words so that there would be no mistaking my actions for discipline at his not coming in the water and walked back out. There I slowly set him on his feet in about 6" of water and held him looking upstream. After a few moments he noticed small clumps of bubbles floating by and forgot that he was wading. His natural curiosity took over and he stretched out seemingly six feet long from nose to tail bob (an exageration) to sniff this new thing coming toward him. More comfortable in the water now, he began exploring until he was deep enough to float and dog paddle. From that moment on I could not keep him out of water whether on paddles, hikes, or in his own wading pool at home. He was a great outdoor friend. The beagles, however, are the no and maybe component. One will wade up to a few inches deep and the other will have nothing to do with it.