– Canoeing Canines
Kayaking on the Thames river in November?
We took part in City Paws Club’s Spring Dog + Human Paddleboarding sessions and had an amazing time! So as mad as it sounds, joining the kayaking session even in very cool weather had us very excited… After all we live in the UK, where the weather is anything but predictable, with a dog that loves adventures as much as us!
So on a very chilly autumnal day, with Marcel securely strapped in the back of the car, we drove to the Royal Canoe Club in Teddington, Britain’s oldest canoe club.
Paul, a City Paws Club partner, hosts the sessions. The former GB kayaking athlete ditched corporate life to become the leader of the Kensington doggy day care pack. Tail wagging by his side is Frank, his handsome and super friendly Wirehaired Vizsla.
After being introduced to our fellow participants, including Arti the Canadian waterdog and his human, we get a safety brief. Our instructor, Jon, is Team GB’s top flatwater sprint kayaker. We opt for a more spacious canoe, with Marcel boarding last. Being so low to the ground helps with stability! Our trio learns and gets used to simple manoeuvres along Trowlock island, thanks to an enthusiastic and positive Jon. Meanwhile the dogs proudly explore their new vessel, some playing with the water, others admiring the view.
Once all accustomed to the canoe we take to the Thames, paddling out with the tide, to the rhythm of mini races and fun games. We even get a peek of the All Black’s training grounds when in the UK.
As we paddle back with the tide, admiring the majestic colours of sunset over Kingston Upon Thames, a warm cup of coffee and delicious cakes are welcoming us on the ground. All three canines, now friends, play in and out of the water until it is time to leave. This was fun!
All dogs and humans of all abilities are welcome to join the Dog + Human Kayaking sessions, which last for about 2 1/2 hours. The rate of £60 for each dog/human team (and £29 per additional human) includes instruction from members of the Great Britain Kayak team, the rental of a Ruffwear dog (and human) life jackets, equipment hire and post session collation.