Hobbies are great and all, but what’s the point when you can’t enjoy them with your best friends?
David Bahnson thought this over and decided he needed to figure out how to introduce his best friends to his love of kayaking. This retired orthopedic surgeon from Vermont thought of the perfect solution.
He designed a custom kayak that fit his two dogs perfectly. Now, he can set out on water adventures with his best friends by his side.
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Bahnson tells The Dodo, “They seem to love it. They get excited when we’d pull the kayaks out and see that we were going.”
Bahnson originally thought of the idea when he noticed the size of the baggage compartment in his kayak. His kayak, known as the Coho, had a rear compartment that would hold supplies or food, but Bahnson saw something greater. He saw it an extra seat for his dog, Susie, so he built a custom ring around the opening to help ensure that Susie stayed cozy and dry as he kayaked at sea with her by his side.
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But when Bahnson and his wife added another dog to the family, Ginger, Bahnson had some work to do. He did not want to leave one dog at home and only take one with him to sea. So he did the most logical thing. He made another modification to the boat.
“When we got Ginger, I just put in another hole. It’s like a triple kayak, only there isn’t enough room for the paddlers to put their feet — but it’s perfect for a dog.”
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Nowadays, Bahnson’s dogs love to go out at see. Every time they see the kayak, they are immediately excited because they know what the day’s plans are. Although Bahnson rarely paddles out that far from land, the dogs seem to know how to stay safe and sound in the kayak.
The dogs are strong swimmers, but you can never be too cautious.
“They are trained to get in the kayak themselves on command. They sit down, and off we go. When we come ashore, they’ll stay seated until I tell them it’s OK to get out. They never hopped out into the water, actually.”
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Unfortunately, Susie and Ginger have both passed away after countless adventures with their owner at sea. Bahnson has continued the pastime with new pets in the family.
“I love my dogs. I love training them, the companionship. We’ve gone miles and miles of paddling with our dogs,” says Bahnson. “They just really enjoy going places.”
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