The Boating Dog - All you need for life on the water with your four-legged friend

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Take a Blood Pressure Break - Hang Out with Your Dog.

It's that time of year again in New England when I brace myself for the inevitable - hauling the boat and saying goodbye to the warm weather. Add on the holiday stress that creeps in from now to the new year, and you run the risk of high blood pressure. I found that you might not need to put in a lot of effort to keep your blood pressure in the healthy range. Hang out with your pet for 45 minutes. This can be a day or a week, whatever you can squeeze in. When two groups of stressed-out, hypertensive stockbrokers were prescribed either medication, or meds plus an adopted dog or cat, the pet owners had a greater reduction in blood pressure.

Dog Bark Inn

Amid North Idaho's rolling fields of bluegrass and barley, the Dog Bark Park Inn welcomes two-legged and four-legged visitors alike. Climb up an exterior flight of stairs to access the 35-foot-tall, beagle-shaped interior's accommodations. The beagle is the largest (wooden) one in the world, according to the woodcarving artists who host the B&B and created the hound. Each stay offers a queen-sized bed located in the dog's belly, with two twin beds in the level above, a full bath, games and full breakfast. Rates: $86 to $92 per night; dogs welcome for an extra $10 fee.

Pet Friendly Pirate's Cove

It's still not boating weather here in the Northeast, so I thought I'd head south. Experience old Florida charm and hospitality at Pirate's Cove Resort and Marina in Stuart Florida. Pirate's Cove Resort has an ideal backdrop for business or pleasure, complete with a waterfront hotel, swimming pool, restaurant, full service marina, and gift shop. If you're traveling sans vessel, reserve a room in their boutique hotel, each room has a balcony overlooking the Manatee Pocket as well as remodeled interiors that elude a relaxing tropical feel. Fresh Florida cuisine is available at the Pirate’s Loft restaurant with an expert staff ready to prepare specialized menus for your special occasion. Their full service 50 slip marina is an ideal spot to keep your boat (75 feet or smaller) for a few short days while in transit, for the season, or on an annual basis. Experienced crew will assist with tying your boat to the fuel dock, your private slip, or the public dock if you simply want to come on up to the Pirate’s Loft Restaurant. Every morning in the hotel lobby they offer a complimentary continental breakfast that easily serves an early morning fisherman, pilot, or family. Best of all Pirate's Cove is pet friendly!!

Find an Everyday Oasis

Hanging out on your boat may sometimes feel like the perfect oasis in a hectic world, but chances are, you can’t get to the dock every time you feel the need for some relaxation. Work, school, home maintenance and sports can get in the way of getting out on the water. So make your own oasis. “Quiet time is restorative, both physically and mentally,” says Cindy Edwards, a professor of psychology at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. “We are ultimately more productive when we’ve had time to clear the deck mentally and start refreshed.

Dog Friendly Dining

There are many terrific, dog-friendly outdoor decks up and down the East and West Coasts where you can grab a burger and beer with your pooch, for which I am thankful. I'm excited to announce that I think I just found the first restaurant in New England that will let your dog dine with you inside the restaurant. Capri Seaside Italian Grille and Bar in Salisbury, MA welcomes well-behaved dogs in their exclusive dog-friendly dining room.You, as the dog's owner, know best if your dog's temperament is appropriate to accompany you for public dining.

Captain Fritz to the Rescue

I am dreaming of a scorching hot summer filled with bikini's, sundresses, and lobster salad. If it's half as brutal as the winter we just had I'll be happy. And I promise I will not complain. It seems I'm always cold. It can be 87 degrees in tropical paradise during the day, 70 degrees in the evening, and with the ocean breeze it's cold enough for wool socks and a cashmere sweater. That's when I call on Captain Fritz. I first met Captain Fritz at the Lobster Pot Boathouse Bar and Restaurant in Hamilton, Bermuda.

What is Leptospirosis?

Marley and Misty got their Leptospirosis vaccines today. Although they do most of their swimming in the ocean, Marley especially, is notorious for finding dirty swimming holes in the most unlikely places. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection of dogs, and infects dogs when abraded skin or mucous membranes come into contact with the urine of an infected animal. The most common way that this disease is transmitted (to dogs or to people) is through coming in contact with infected water sources such as ponds, lakes, and rivers.

I'm Not Laughing!

Happy April Fool's Day. I don't know the history of why April 1st is such a joke, but I can tell you why today is a joke, if you live in the northeast. Pictures speak a thousand words so I will not say the "S" word in this post. Look at the photo and get a good laugh if you live anywhere but here, and a good cry, or buzz, if you're here with me. Quite frankly I'm sick of the "S" word. I send my sincere condolences to my fellow boaters who were scheduled for splash down today. Why don't we all join together and have our own splash down, of Lickloys!

Kids, Sports and Boats, Oh My!

If you have kids you know Spring is the time of year when the two worlds of boating and sports collide. It's a love-hate thing that you can't get too stressed over. Our boys are passionate about their team sports and boating, so we do our best to fit it all in. And here in New England, that means cramming it all in to about 12 weeks if we're lucky. I know, it sounds crazy doesn't it? The game schedules come out, the dates get plugged into the calendar, and then we begin to plan our summer cruises;  for those two open weekends, the one in July and the one in August.

Why Do Dogs Love Boats?

We work hard all week and can't wait for Friday afternoons to arrive so we can head to the boat to kick back, escape the rat race, and have some fun. Our dogs don't work that hard during the week. Don't get me wrong, they are there for us 24 hours a day. Misty wakes us every morning with a wet nudge so she can be fed, Marley chews my running shoes to get us out the door for a run, and they both spend a lot of time scouting birds and getting muddy. Do they really know it's Friday? All I know is that when they see the boat bag come out, all hell breaks loose. Their tails go into high gear knocking everything down, they jockey for position to be the first one down the stairs, and you better get out of the way or you're going down! When we get to the marina they have to be first down the dock. The leashes have to be on before the tailgate opens otherwise they'd be gone. They politely greet all their neighbors, passing at least twenty boats before boarding their own vessel. I don't know how they know which boat is ours, we never taught them which boat to board. And when we pull into a new port, you think they'd get confused by their new surroundings. Not a chance. They lead us back to our boat every time.  I think they love all the things that we love; sitting on the bow watching the birds hover overhead, the gentle rocking of the boat that lulls us to sleep, and the extra attention that we all get because it's family time. Scientifically, it has a lot to do with the smells. I found that we have five million olfactory scent-detecting cells in our noses. Our dogs have 225 million in theirs. A dog can smell things underwater, even plankton. Scents are rising to the surface, one after another, mixing and morphing. Some are nasty to us. But to the dogs each one is a "Yah Baby"!  
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