I love to paddle. Nearly every afternoon, seven days a week, I head out for a few hours of exercise on local rivers and lakes on my stand up paddleboard. My husband and daughters join in, making it a family event. But I’m also a dog owner and my little pooch feels very left out when I head out for my daily workout.
Just bring him along, you might be thinking. But, Wolfie is afraid of the water as he can’t swim! He’s a dachshund, with wee little legs that are shorter than most people’s index fingers. Imagine trying to stay afloat using only your fingers—in cold water and a fast current.
But then I discovered Ruffwear’s K-9 Float Coat. This doggy lifejacket is the best thing since sliced-bread. It’s made of closed-cell foam that’s covered by durable, abrasion-resistant nylon. You just slip the coat over your dog’s head and then snap shut the two plastic buckles under the belly. Just like with any lifejacket, I always check the tension on the straps to make sure they are secure but not too tight.
When you first use the K-9 Float Coat, it’s a good idea to let your canine companion practice swimming with it. Wolfie endured a few “barrel rolls” before he learned to balance while he paddled. After five minutes of training, off we went on the paddleboard. The Float Coat has a handy D-ring that you can clip a leash to—in fast current I attach the leash to the coat and to my board. If my dog does fall in when he’s trying to mimic those carved figureheads on the front of a ship, I just kneel down, grab the leash and tow him back onboard. Then I grab the handy handle on the top of the coat (sort of like hefting a briefcase) and tote him back on board.
No longer do I have to endure those big, sad brown eyes gazing at me when we load up the paddleboards. Instead, my happy pup just noses his K-9 Float Coat toward the door, knowing he’s adventure bound. The only drawback? There’s not much that’s cuter than a dog in a lifejacket so be prepared to pose for photos and answer questions. Wolfie is more popular than Tatum Channing when we are out on the river, and from watching his theatrics when he thinks he might be left home, I’m thinking he may be a better actor as well.
The Ruffwear K-9 Float Coat retails for $80 is available now.