Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Husky Aquatic

Several weeks back, my dad set out to teach me the ins and outs of boat operation/maintenance. We've got a motor boat whose engine was repaired last year, and now we are determined to use it more.

In preparation, I spent pieces of free time during the spring going through the WV Boater's Safety certificate process to get licensed to operate watercraft in the state. With certificate in hand, dad and I planned a trip to the closest lake - Mt. Storm - for a training session. We chose this lake not only because of its proximity, but also because it is the warmest lake in the state due to the power plant that sits along its shore that uses lake water circulating through pipes to cool its operations.

So on a beautiful Saturday, my dad, my friend T, Kenai and I all loaded up and headed for the lake so I could learn how to operate the boat a bit more intimately than I had as a kid.

Kenai had been in a motorboat briefly several summers ago at Summersville lake, but that was after a long day of climbing and riding around in a whitewater raft. Additionally, Kenai has been in a shredder (small whitewater craft) on the Youghigheny river through whitewater before. I wasn't greatly concerned about how he'd handle this experience, but I was excited to see how he would take it.

At the put in, I decided to go ahead and lift Kenai into the boat prior to launching it into the water. I wasn't certain how he'd handle being lifted into a boat once it was launched and in the water! I set Kenai and his Dublin Dog Nomad Pad into the boat. He settled on the pad pretty quickly, knowing that to be "his spot" through this time of uncertainty.

Kenai awaiting the put in.
Sitting on his Nomad pad.
Also wearing Dublin Dog Reflx Collar
and his NRS dog PFD

Dad backed the boat into the water with T, Kenai and I aboard. I backed it off the trailer and out into a very choppy lake (wow, wind!) while dad parked the truck and trailer.

I had a bit of a time driving the boat (first time in this boat in YEARS) and dealing with the wind/choppy water conditions. After shrieking and fretting a little bit, I did manage to successfully navigate the boat to the dock where we could pick my dad up.

I was surprised when Kenai jumped right out of the boat when we reached the dock! He took off for a grassy area despite my calls. I realized immediately when he ignored me that he just had to use the bathroom and didn't want to do so on the boat! Good boy.

Kenai finished his business quickly and sprinted back across the gravel lot, darted across the dock, and leaped right back into the boat, happy as a clam!

Investigating the water

In no time, we were all loaded into the boat and headed out to explore the lake!

Kenai very quickly showed interest in wanting to ride in the very extreme bow area of the boat. I was concerned that the porpoising motion of the craft over the water would toss him out for an unexpected swim though, so I tied him up so he couldn't reach the bow while we were moving.

During the quieter, slower parts of our outing, Kenai wandered the boat untied, standing on the bow mostly. He served as a great compass for wherever the closest point of land was the whole time, though he never stress panted or whined in a manner to show distress over being in the boat.

A happy husky!

When T and I jumped into swim in the lake (an impressive 79°F for a late day in May in high elevation WV!) Kenai got quite concerned for my well-being. He yipped and yodeled and whined and barked, eying my every move from the boat.

I laughed at him and goaded him into the water, first from the stern where he used a small platform to gain access to the water, and then from the bow on his second go where he launched into the water like a dog dock - albeit with less grace.

Once waterlogged, Kenai would swim to me, and then I'd guide him back to the boat where dad would help him in.

For our final ride to the dock, Kenai got to sit in the bow area with me holding him a safe distance from the edge. He loved being in the front with his face in the wind for that final trip!

It was a great outing for my water husky. He was so well behaved all day, and I think he really enjoyed the change of scenery and activity. Good boy, Kenai!

Always pointing out the closest piece of land.

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