Dexter Doodle – Mini Labradoodle (dog)
Name: Nicole & Mike Potter
Boat name: Sloboda
Boat model: Nordhavn 47
Years cruising with pet: Five years (his whole life)
Funniest moment: We should call our dog "Dexter, the dinghy obsessed Doodle." He has been taking dinghy rides since he was 8 weeks old and developed quite a love affair with our dinghy. There's nothing like asking him "Dexter, you wanna go for a ride?" And he jumps in the air, spins in a circle and makes a B-line for the dingy as fast as he can. The funniest moment we've had is when one day we couldn't find Dexter on the boat, so after a little searching we looked on the dock and found him happily sitting in the captain's seat of the dinghy which was tied to the dock. He was just waiting for his afternoon dinghy ride, is all. We really should’ve known!
Scariest moment: The scariest pet moment was recently when we were cruising north from San Diego to Marina Del Rey and Dexter spotted some dolphins who swam over to ride the bow. We think they must've been "talking" to Dexter because he could clearly hear something that we couldn't. He started barking and howling and whining like we've never heard. He then proceeded to fling himself over the bow and would have ended up in the water with the dolphins had we not been holding him back! We know he loves fish, but this was the first time he wanted to jump in the water to see the dolphins. Lesson learned because the next week we put up protective netting on the bow so there can be no more incidents with Dexter and his dolphin friends.
Treasured memories: Dexter stayed on the boat for two months with Nicole in Puerto Vallarta while Mike worked back in the States. They had the most fun adventures while living on the boat. Dexter's favorite boat activities included paddle boarding with his Mama, looking for fish off the dock, lying in the cockpit on a breezy afternoon and letting his fluff blow in the wind, and of course the ultimate water activity...dinghy rides!!
Unexpected/unanticipated difficulties: Definitely the fact that he is Nicole's shadow. Dexter will follow his Mama anywhere and everywhere! This means when we are coming into port and Nicole has to get the lines ready to tie up the boat, Dexter would prefer that we play a game of tug-O-war with the lines, or wants to be the first one back on the dock, even when the boat isn't docked yet! It's been a little tricky with him running around, so he always wears his doggie life jacket, and when we really need him to stay out of the way he has to wait, not so patiently, in his crate.
Unexpected/unanticipated joys: Everything on board Sloboda is a joy with Dexter. When he was eight weeks old, we lived full time on the boat so Dexter grew up in his floating home. There's really no place he'd rather be. It always makes us smile when we find him sprawled out in the cockpit with his fluff blowing in the wind and his head resting on the step so he can look for fish. He is truly in doggie seventh heaven out there.
Worst thing about traveling with pets: If the seas are uncomfortable you hate to see your pup stressed. I give him a natural ginger based pill to keep him calm and he prefers to ride it out in Nicole's lap.
Best thing about traveling with pets: Dexter's sense of adventure matches our own! There's nothing we can't do with him and nowhere we can't take him. He is truly a boat dog and loves to get on the open sea. When we start the engine he runs around and wags his tail and looks at us like "where we going, guys?"
Advice: If you want to cruise with a dog, get them on the boat from the very earliest age. Some pets who are adopted at older stages get very stressed on boats. If you have the opportunity to get a puppy, it might sound like more work, but it's worth every ounce of the work to have a boat dog on the other end.
Other: When my husband Mike forwarded me your email about writing this pet cruising article, I was thrilled!!! Mike and I recently moved aboard our 47 Nordie Sloboda, in Marina Del Rey. We are living aboard in preparation to start cruising full time at the end of this year. Our doggie Dexter is the BEST boat dog and I love that you want to share stories of Nordie owners and their pets. I can't wait until we start cruising full time and meet other Nordie owners along the way. I am also very interested in writing and photography and plan to extensively document this trip we are planning, especially in regards to Dexter cruising with us. If you are interested in further articles in the next year or two, I would love to be a part of future stories. I am so thankful for this Nordhavn community and I am the HUGEST promoter of Nordhavn in general. My husband always laughs at me and tells me I should get a job with you because I am such a fan and supporter of all things Nordhavn. Writing this article about pets cruising just proves everything I've already been saying about your organization.