Our dog Maggie is a rescue dog. We don’t know much about her early life, and we aren’t sure why, but she is terribly frightened of new people and different places. She has come a long way since we got her, but you can still see her fear from time to time.
When we decided to take her out on our boat for the first time, we weren’t sure how she would react. First she had to cross the gangway to the boathouse, which is high above the water. She didn’t like it, her toenails gripped the mesh as she inched along, but we got her across. Then she had to go inside the boathouse, with its unfamiliar shadows and smells, but we coaxed her into that, too.
Of course we couldn’t get her to hop into the boat, so my husband lifted her in. At first she froze, and then she sniffed from bow to stern. Starting up the motor made her tremble, and when we exited the boathouse she froze as we drifted backwards. But once we got out into the cove and started moving forward, she felt the sun’s warmth and the gentle breeze, and she wagged her tail.
The farther we went, the happier she became. She stuck her nose up into the breeze, and then she sat up on the seat with me. She loved having the wind blow in her face. When we stopped for a while she was perched on the seat, and we watched her comfortably rock with the rhythm of the water. She was quite a seaworthy dog.
Maybe being on the water is part of her instinct. Or perhaps this awakened some happy memories for her. It definitely gave us some good memories, all of us, and her next trip across the gangway demonstrated eagerness instead of fear.