I was thrilled when Joy asked me to join The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs in training when they went out on boats. As part of the assistance dog training, the dogs go out on boats to experience what it is like out on the water.
Jumping in and out of the boat is the first challenge. Dakota tried it a few times, but quickly became a champ.
The boats were operated by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the uniformed civilian element of the Coast Guard. They had three boats at Henry Hegg Lake and one at time, they took the dogs out on the lake.
Each dog spent some time in the boat with the motor off just getting used to the feel of the water motion.
We left the dock and the captains of each boat went through a series of maneuvers, turning tight corners around the buoys, going through the wakes of other boats and my personal favorite… going fast.
Before we ever left the dock was the dogs donned their finest life jackets.
I was completely impressed with how comfortably they adapted to the new situations. Ida had no problem walking onto the boat.
The comfort level of the dogs was amazing. Ida thought it was just a more scenic car ride. Secretly, I think she wanted to drive the boat.
She climbed up on the engine motor and took a nap.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary put on a fabulous barbecue for us at the end of the rides.
I think everyone left with a smile on their face that day we had so much fun.