If you don’t have pets onboard then you don’t have to worry about this question and can simply walk off the boat and go about your business, but it’s much more complicated with pets onboard. Since we recently sat on the dock for a bit working on our engine and exhaust systems, I’ve had time to observe and consider what other long term cruisers do with their pets. It’s much different if you have smaller animals and can simply carry them with you as you take a boat break… or if you can take them on your lap on the plane with you. Smaller dogs can sit in the lap on a plane and some pets can go in the underbelly….or they can go into the pet carrier if you’re road tripping.
It’s much harder to make all this work with larger size dogs or more exotic animals like birds. We now have expert experience with this as we live with a giant breed dog (Great Dane) on our sailboat. Our solutions to these challenges are not unique or ideal but it’s just how we do it.
We’ve been fortunate to find great kennels in both La Cruz (PV) and La Paz, Mexico that our Great Dane has flourished in during the few times we’ve left the boat for trips or family matters. We think it’s OK to take a bit of an occasional vacation from our lifestyle to replenish our spiritual batteries and improve crew morale as needed. When I grew up on a sailboat (also with a Great Dane) there were no kennels in Mexico that we found, so other cruisers helped our family when we had to leave. These days, we simply have to get Quincy to the kennel and she’s always well taken care of. I also think it’s ok to get Quincy off the boat occasionally for some time in the kennel to give her a bit of a break, knowing she has to come back to the boat and adjust to boat life like the rest of us. When we do this, we do not go back out to anchor in the same day and we make sure Quincy has plenty of space to get to know the boat again…. it’s her home too after all. We often need a bit of adjustment time too.
Dog On The Dock:
As a family member, Quincy likes to be in the middle of the action and constantly around her pack…. meaning she does better when one of us is around the boat. We learned early on living on the dock in the US that Quincy is quite capable of getting off the boat and most folks around a dock get a bit alarmed when 130-pounds of dog comes running toward them. Folks on the docks in Mexico get even more worried so we keep Quincy on the boat, with one of us on board when we’re on the dock. But this means that we cannot leave the boat as a family when we’re on the dock and Quincy is onboard…. which is mostly to our benefit. If we feel like we need a break from Ms. Quincy we simply go to anchor or we put her in a kennel for a few days. Quincy is seven now…..set in her ways but we think she does pretty well for a large breed boat dog.
We live onboard our cruising sailboat full time in Mexico with our two children and Great Dane. Our kids are home schooled on the boat and we are in the Sea of Cortez for a second season while the world works to knock out Covid. We are not boat experts in any way but we are consistently working toward using less fossil fuel on the boat, the best we can. We’re also not social media gurus so we have this website and our YouTube site. I encourage you to check out the YouTube site if you wanna see some great videos about boat and wildlife and continue to FOLLOW this website. We’ll keep publishing as long as you keep reading!!
Got Questions or Comments? We’ll answer as soon as we’re back in cell or wifi range.