Definitely check in your dog upon arrival at ports
. For the dogs
sake. Be sure that the dog is vaccinated several weeks before departing on your cruise
so as to allow time for proper protection to be afforded for the diseases that are typical to the countries you are visiting. A dog on board a boat is not typically subject to exposure to too many insects and parasites, viruses or bacteria, but once upon land they become immediate bug bait, especially in the Tropical climates. Pet's may be required to be placed in quarantine upon arrival in some countries, don't bring them or don't go there unless you intend to stay a long, long time, as pet's tend to go bonkers locked up in quarantine for extended periods of time, just as you would if locked in a small cage.
Cat's make for reasonably good boat pets
as they can be useful in keeping the bilge
rat population to a minimum and will give chase to the birds and generally like the leftovers of fish
that you catch. Besides they generally are easier to accept a "remain on board lifestyle" and not needing to go ashore for a walk. Plus cats will readily do their business in a box, never had any luck teaching a dog to go potty in a box; the dog usually just dug around in the clay sending it flying all over the place making an even bigger mess to clean up. I find it objectionable when a dog raises its leg or squats on board, I get that they are simply doing what is required given the circumstances. **** happens. But I much rather change the diaper on the infant then deal with the dog's messes on deck
, hopefully on deck
and not discharged below deck, double yuck that!
In non-quarantining countries, when taking a dog ashore just take abundant precautions and remember that Toto is not in Kansas anymore. The loss of a companion pet because they are put down by an animal control officer, or becoming sick due to exposure to abundant diseases or parasites quickly makes for a sad cruise
; nothing like a funeral at sea. Respect the laws as much as you love your pets.
For those who may be unfamiliar with what a service animal is and what purpose and training they have, below please find copied the definition of a service animal per the 2010 revision of the American Disabilities Act [ADA].
"Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person's disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA."
This revised definition excludes
all comfort animals, which are pets that owners keep with them solely for emotional reasons that do not
ameliorate their symptoms of a recognized "disability"; animals that do
ameliorate the conditions of a medical
disability, however, such as animals that ameliorate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, are included in the definition. Unlike a service animal, a comfort animal is one that has not been trained to perform specific tasks directly related to the person's disability. Common tasks for service animals include flipping light switches, picking up dropped objects, alerting the person to an alarm
, reducing the anxiety of a person with post-traumatic stress disorder by putting its head
on the patient, or similar disability-related tasks. A service dog may still provide help people with emotions related to psychiatric disabilities, but the dog must be trained to perform specific actions, such as distracting the person when he becomes anxious or engages in stimming or other behaviors related to his disability.
Because there is no USA federal certification
of service animals in the United States, staff must take declaration of an animal's service status at face value. Furthermore, they are restricted in the questions they may ask about the animal:
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability; and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.
Staff cannot ask about the person's disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task
My dog, an old Basset Hound, is a service dog of sorts, as he readily picks up most foods that I might drop, but since he was not specifically trained to perform such actions, I suppose that he does not qualify as being a real service animal under the ADA.
Service animals can be amazingly helpful to those that have certain disabilities, but I have yet to see one be trained to assist in sailing a boat. Water
dogs (e.g., Labradors) can be fun company as they thrive on jumping into the water
and can be great retrievers if you drop something that floats. But realize they may do so while underway, for example, jumping in to give chase to a dolphin that is riding your bow wave, in which case the dog can be keel
hauled, which is pretty traumatic particularly if the propeller
is churning at the stern. If they clear the hull
it can be rather humorous to see happen as all ends well with a recovery and you get to practice your Dog Over Board maneuver, a DOB. I once watched a pet owner jump over board when their small dog fell over the side while we were sailing on their boat, just what we need a MOB
& DOB, twice the effort. Truth be told, the dog swam better than the dog owner, which owner did not have a life vest on, naturally.
For pet owners that bring them on a cruise, I suggest a proximity device be kept on the collar and / or on the pet;s life vest which will provide an alarm
on the boat if the pet decides to depart the boat. Dog's are pretty good at paddling and will usually try to regain the boat on their own accord, so if you hoave to quickly after they fall in they will usually churn their way towards you, that is unless a shore is enticingly nearby such as when you are at anchor
Unfortunately in the USA there are a lot of persons that routinely fraudulently claim their dog is a service animal, much to the detriment of those that have real disabilities and real purpose-trained dogs. Many inconsiderate people claim their dog is a service animal when in actuality it is merely a pet, in my perspective those persons are similar in character to persons that park in handicap parking places but do not have a handicap.
Okay that was my rant and pet peeve
Happy sailing with Rover.