It’s A Dog’s Life

Black dog on a beach
Exploring a beach

If you know us then you probably know our dog, Blue, too.

He’s an 11 and a half-year-old 90-pound black lab mix, part black bear, part teddy bear.

On April 2, 2015, we sadly had to say goodbye to our dog, Toby, a Beagle Bassett.  We thought life would be easier without having to deal with a dog.  Especially since we now had a boat. That lasted a few months when we each admitted to the other one that we’d been looking online for a rescue dog!  We had loved having a beagle and our daughter also has a great beagle pup, so that’s what we were looking for to adopt again.

Time and time again I’d call about a beagle we’d seen on a

Safe in his PFD!

website, only to find out that the dog had been placed in his or her forever home.  Finally, we found one in Hanover, PA.  Hanover was a 2-hour drive from where we lived.  Most of their rescues are kept in foster homes.  The plan was to meet up with the woman who ran the program, Melissa, at one of the foster homes.

When we got to the house we met the very kind foster parents, their 4 children, and their own puppy. We also saw a huge black dog with a muzzle on his snout.  We were informed that this dog was up for adoption. Way too big for us!  Melissa showed up about 10 minutes after us and asked us what we thought of Blue and would we like to take him out for a walk.

Dog restng on boat
‘I’m so tired’

We asked about the beagle that we had hoped to meet. Melissa informed us that it had trust issues and she was working with him.  Numerous visits would be required to familiarize the dog with his new owners.  Well, that wasn’t going to work for us since it was a long drive to the area.

We took Blue for a walk.  Gosh, he was sooo big and so was his poop! I just didn’t know about this dog, he really wasn’t what we were looking for.  So we took him back to his foster home and said we’d go home and think about it.

Melissa told us the story of how she got him.  She rescued him from a backyard in West Virginia.   His first family was an elderly couple, the man had passed away two years ago and the woman was no longer in any condition to care for a dog.  The dog had been chained up for that past 2 years with just a wooden dog house for protection from the elements.  Their daughter called the rescue agency and asked if they’d please take him.

You can predict how the story goes. Yep, a week later we drove back out there and picked up the big lug and brought him home.  He had the biggest smile on his face on that car ride.  He still loves car rides to this day!

Oh, shoot, that boat issue! Had we forgotten about that? How the hell were we going to get this dog on our boat?  After some research, we found a ramp that would work and with a little encouragement we got him to cross it and get on the boat. I thought, well this will be fun, labs love water.  We now have a dog that will enjoy swimming.  No, not this guy, he barely will dip a toe in the water! But we found out he can swim! We learned that when he somehow fell off the boat at the marina in Cape May.

Dog with PFD on
Are we there yet?

The next year we bought a bigger boat and moved aboard.  What we’ve learned is that as long as Blue is with us, then he’s content.  When we go out, he makes himself quite comfortable on our bed where he can sleep or look out the back window.

We are often asked what we do with Blue when we are out on the water.  Thankfully, he has pretty good holding power.  The original plan was to train him to pee on the boat.  We tried to get him to go on an actual piece of grass, Astroturf, and also, a potted plant where he could ‘lift his leg.’ But no, he won’t do his business on the boat, it’s his home!  So, as Jim is preparing the boat for travel I take Blue for a good long walk.  We typically aren’t out on the water, traveling, for more than 5 hours.  As soon as we dock or drop anchor, the first order of business is to get Blue off to relieve himself.

Dog in dinghy
Jim returning from taking Blue to shore in the dinghy


Thankfully, he has mastered getting in and out of the dinghy quite well. He enjoys going for a ride to shore where he can explore. He usually finds dead fish and shells to chomp on which adds to the amazing dog breath he has! We are hoping to anchor out much more often when we head south on the ICW again this fall. We will find more shorelines to discover as we take Blue ashore for bathroom breaks.

Blue has turned out to be a loved member of our family. He loves a pat on the head, and actually expects it whenever he passes someone.  He is calm, and patient and leaves black fur all over the light tan carpet!


black dog with dead fish in mouth
Blue found a dead fish
Blue hanging out with Mommy on a journey

3 thoughts on “It’s A Dog’s Life”

  1. Sorry for the loss of your beagle. I too just recently lost my best bud Rio. He was a pure bred black lab and the sweetest dog ever. He loved the water so much. Which is why we are spreading his ashes in the river he loved so much. I’m glad you found another joy to have in your family. Greta story.

  2. Cynthia Bredikin

    We just love your blogs! Each one has a new surprise. Thanks for keeping us “in the loop!”
    Lots of love, Mom and Dad

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