Today the ship’s dog finally took the plunge.
All summer long she has been making a nuisance of herself, barking madly and snapping at the heels of anyone who jumps or dives from the side-deck – so we decided that it was high time she joined in the fun.
Poor old Poppy-dog hates water – she even walks round puddles – but ever since we ordered her a snazzy lifejacket the day of reckoning has been drawing nigh. Well, you can’t have a lifejacket and not try it out – not aboard this ship, anyway. The Admiral insists that all the safety gear aboard this ship be tested and seen to perform adequately. Today Poppy’s lifejacket finally arrived – and so, too, her Big Day.
“Now then, Poppy, sweetie-pie,” said her mother. “This won’t hurt.” And she wrapped the mutt in a large, red, padded jacket, emblazoned all over with Crewsaver logos. It certainly was an impressive outfit, although the dog didn’t seem to think so. She stood there, looking like a sausage roll, or a bright red hot dog.
“Come along now, Popsie-darling.” Xoë hopped gracefully over the rail and into the sea.
Popsie-darling had to be lifted over, with her tail tucked between her legs.
Would she float? And, if so, which way up?
All was well – she floated in the proper manner, on her front. Indeed, she floated so well, with her head so far above the nasty wet stuff, that she seemed rather pleased! She swam straight to her mistress, wagging her tail. (Or was she just using her tail as a rudder? The crew are divided in their opinions on this subject.)
Poppy is not light – she weighs over 15 kg – and yet the webbing handle on the back of the jacket was perfectly adequate when the time came to lift the dog back onto the deck. And it came very soon, because having swum to Xoë she said, “That’s quite enough. I’ve shown you I can do it,” and swam straight back to the ladder.
The Crewsaver Pet Float is very much more substantial than any other doggy-jacket that we have seen. It would be hell for the animal to have to wear on a hot day, but if Pops comes south to Tierra del Fuego it will certainly stand her in good stead.
The extra padding on the chest seems to be absent from most floats, but it holds up the dog’s head (as described) and it must certainly make the lifting process less of an ordeal. Webbing, on its own, would be very uncomfortable – and Poppy doesn’t stand for that kind of thing; she lets us know, with pitiful screams, if someone so much as trips over her tail.
We rate this pet-float 10 out of 10 for its construction and its performance in the water. As to its appearance – we leave you to judge that for yourselves.
Meanwhile, the rest of the crew have also been testing their lifejackets – but that is quite a different story, and one which it will take me some time to tidy up and type.