Friday, July 8, 2011

How to be a Tourist With Your Dog Series: Boating to the Bahamas with a Pitbull


With the exception of our annual Canine Cruise around the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, our dogs are fairly landlocked, and I'm always curious about the dogs that do get to leisurely boat around. So we've been so excited to hear the insider's view about how Laura, Hans and their adorable 1-year pit puppy Wilbur spent several months living on a boat --appropriately named Knotty Cat-- and sailing from the Northeast to the Bahamas. From tales of no dog areas, to on boat potty training and the warm welcome in the Bahamas, here is an example of how Wilbur and his family boated to the Bahamas:

When Hans and I sailed our boat to the Bahamas this winter, our one year old pit bull, Wilbur, made the journey with us and let me tell you, a wonderful time was had by all!






And it wasn't until we arrived in the Bahamas that we really experienced what I would call true freedom while traveling with a dog. You see, we spent last summer aboard our sail boat on the eastern shore of the United States in the Chesapeake and Potomac, and every time we went ashore with Wilbur we were brought up short by the posted signs on every beach, park, sidewalk, and blade of grass, that forbade pets, and practically drew a line in the sand and dared our dog to place even one pitty paw over it!  Just try to walk around The National Mall (a hugely open expanse of land) in Washington, DC with your dog 'cause it ain't gonna happen.  Yes folks, signs along its entire perimeter contain a long list of no-no's and in addition to no cigarettes, food or drinks, man's best friend is not allowed to prance upon the land of the free and the home of the brave!  And since last summer was so stinking hot this meant we couldn't safely leave Wilbur alone on the boat (akin to leaving a dog in a hot car), so going ashore usually meant me staying (and sweating) on board with Wilbur while Hans went ashore and enjoyed air conditioning and free WiFi.
So needless to say, I wasn't expecting a ticker tape parade upon entering the Bahamas with a pit bull and I was very concerned about what kind of reception we might receive.  I have to say we were pleasantly surprised to find that for the most part, Wilbur was welcomed almost everywhere.  Upon docking at marinas many employees would cheerfully call out, "Is that a pit?" And more often than not we'd find that one of them had a pit bull for a pet themselves.   We did run into a few people who expressed fear when they came upon us and one young man in particular nearly fainted when he found himself within a few feet of Wilbur.  The poor kid was terrified but we encouraged him to just touch Wilbur, and before we knew it we couldn't get rid of him!  For about an hour he ran his hands over Wilbur's sides, played with his ears, and gave him belly rubs.  Wilbur was in heaven!

We never encountered even one 'No Dogs Allowed' sign and we ended up taking Wilbur to pristine beaches, open air bars, and one restaurant even told us if we kept him off to the side no one would probably care.  We rarely left Wilbur on the boat alone but when we did, we didn't worry about the heat as the temperatures in the Bahamas during March through April hardly ever goes above the  mid 70's and there's always a breeze.
We never let Wilbur off his leash and we always cleaned up after him, and for the most part he was a good boy, but even the most well behaved children (oops, I mean dogs) can have an off day. Like the time Wilbur inhaled a huge hunk of hard salami while on the beach at Treasure Cay (best known for being one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world) and promptly puked it up.  At least he was a gentleman and made his deposit right beside a palm tree where no one was likely to step in it and I quickly buried the evidence in a pile of sand!
And then there was that day at Pets Pub in Little Harbor.  Normally, Wilbur is a very discreet and slightly lady like pee-er and he just barely squats when he goes about his business, but that day at Pete's something got into him, perhaps it was the beat of the music from the band that was playing. Anyway, Hans had gone to get us a couple of beers and I was lazily gazing out at the water when I felt a tug on Wilbur's leash. I  (and everyone else) was then treated to a most unusual sight.  Wilbur, with hind leg proudly held high, performed an intricate, hoochy coochy, three legged dance in front of a group of people, all the while sending out a delicate stream of pee.  I don't know if he was marking his spot or simply trying to write his name in the sand but I was mortified.  I hated to reprimand Wilbur for expressing himself so artistically (after all Pete from Pete's Pub is an artist himself!) so I ever so casually followed behind him, and while smiling ingratiatingly at everyone around us, shuffled sand over Wilbur's creation and no one even seemed to care.
I'm happy to report we dinghied (posse free) back to our anchored boat shortly thereafter.
When I had to make a quick trip back to the states for a couple of Baby Girl's (my youngest, who holds my future nursing home location in the palm of her hand) senior college functions, Hans decided to take advantage of my absence to do some odd jobs around the boat that would best be done without a dog on board (varnishing etc...). I found (via a fellow cruiser) a Bahamian woman who would keep Wilbur for a week.  Don't think we weren't a little nervous when we approached Annie and expressed our desire that she watch Wilbur for a week since even though a lot of people love pit bulls, those very same people might not be willing to babysit one. Annie merely shrugged when I said 'pit bull' and she told us it was no problem as she was already taking care of three of them for some locals.  So for ten dollars a day, off Wilbur went for a week.  Annie even tossed in a free pedicure.  You can't beat that!
I was really surprised at how many cruisers travel with dogs aboard their boats.  I saw everything; chihuahuas, labs, yorkies, poodles, huskies, shelties, golden retrievers, spaniels, jack russells, german sheppards, and just plain mutts, but I have to admit that Wilbur was the only pit bull I ever saw on a boat.  And he was also one of the only dogs who actually goes potty on the boat and therefore doesn't need to be dinghied ashore day and night in order to do his business!  Talk about smart!




And while having a dog on board adds an extra element of work and worry, I really can't imagine a life without Wilbur. So if you ever have a chance to go to the Bahamas and think you'd like to take your dog (or cat) with you, go for it, you'll have a great time!
 We loved hearing about Wilbur's travels, and you can read more about him and his family on their blog Knotty Cat Tales. Fun Fact: Wilbur's family was the first one that ever started reading, and commenting on, our blog when not even our own parents read it.

We've been so excited to read everyone's posts, and even if we can't literally do the trips as featured, we do find it so inspiring to see the amazing things other people do with their dogs. And it's always a good reminder for pit owners to doublecheck and do the research first to make sure that there is not BSL in the areas you might be traveling.
In case you missed them, you can also read about things to do with dogs in Seattle,  Kansas City, Nashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping with 4 large dogs here. We do love hearing insider's tips, and if you would like to share your hometown, please click here for more information or contact us through our Facebook page.

23 comments:

Tucker The Crestie said...

What a great installment in this series! Possibly my favorite so far - guess it's hard to beat an adorable pittie boy showcased in front of crystal blue water! (Wilbur's mom is a great writer, also - I'll definitely be checking out their blog.)

This is a great series, btw! Really enjoying it!

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

Wilbur should be a model; he can really strike a pose. It is wonderful to hear that dogs are so welcome in the Bahamas :) The trip sounds like a dream come true!

loveandaleash said...

unbelievable. we love wilbur's blog too, but hadn't seen some of these most curious posts -- like the one about learning to use the potty patch!!

waldobungie said...

That is so cool! Wilbur is adorable (I especially love the one of him stretched out on the boat showing his muscular body)! I've never seen this blog before but it's totally going in my Google Reader now!!!

Froggy said...

I really love these posts! Wilbur is just adorable what a sweet sweet face!

saratogajean said...

How cool! I've always wondered how traveling on a boat with a pit bull would work out - so glad to hear it was a breeze!

Wilbur is one handsome pup.

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

My mind is completely blown by how cool this is! It seems like a dream to be able to travel around by boat with your dog - to the Bahamas no less! Wilbur is adorable!

brooke said...

This is such a cool post! I have to go back and read about his potty training on a boat!

Roo said...

What a fantastic trip! Mom and I LUV this! Wilbur is quite the trooper :D I went on over to say hi to them and am now their newest follower :D

Mom and I are so enjoying your tourist series! :D

Waggin at ya,
Roo

houndstooth said...

When I win the lottery, that's the life for us! What fun that has to be! I'm sure our girls would have a good time on a boat with us, and I know my husband would be in total heaven! Wilber is just adorable, too!

Beth said...

Wilbur is AWESOME! I love, love, love this post!

www.truthaboutpitbulls.blogspot.com

road-dog-tales said...

Okay - that does it! We're moving to the Bahamas! Wow, that is a very different attitude towards us of the canine persuasion than you will find here on the SC Coast! Wilbur is a handsome fellow and a lucky pup!!! Love the frog pose Wilbur!

The Road Dogs

Patty said...

What a wonderful adventure they have been on!!! Wilbur is a cutie! Now off to read more about Wilbur and his family.

Kari in WeHo said...

That is so cool! I never would have thought of doing that with the pups

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

Alanna said...

Awesome! I was just in the pet store the other day with my dog to try on doggy PFD's. I never would have thought I'd be the type to buy my dog a lifejacket but my girl isn't such a great swimmer - I think it's because being a pittie she's pretty dense (as in muscle wise :). Wilbur looks so adorable in his!

Benny and Lily said...

What a great post and a great place. No, no fogs allowed signs! Very cool. Nice legs Wilbur
Benny & Lily

Bobby said...

How great for Wilbur to be on the boat. It was so much better for him in the Bahamas.
Licks Bobby

Two Pitties in the City said...

I still have to laugh at that last photo of Wilbur sunbathing and making sure he is evenly tanning his bum.

Laura and Hans said...

This just made my day! And I promise, after reading this, Wilbur is trying very hard to be humble but it's difficult since he's obviously 'too sexy for his boat'!

Cyndi said...

What a great series you have going here! I'm a long-time follower of Laura, Hans, and Wilbur's blog....I just love that pitty! Oh, and Laura's pretty cool herself! Now I'm going to go and check out the rest of your blog, too! :o)

XOXO,

Cyndi

zoe kentucky said...

Love Wilbur! Give him a kiss on the head for me!

Ken n Cheryl said...

As a future cruiser and dog lover, I just love this post! Wilbur is one "cool" dude!

Corbin said...

Woah! Another boatin' dog! I will most definitely have to check out their blog! Maybe I can convince mom and dad to take me to the Bahamas...
-Corbin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...