Reflections on people and dogs who find balance on the water
Drawn from interviews, encounters, and play dates with dog owners who love to get out on the water with their pets, Paddle Tails explores the incredible bond that develops between canine and human on rivers and ponds, and in the wide-open ocean.
Some people call it healing. Some say it’s changed the way they look at the world. For others, time on the water with their dogs just makes the load they carry through life a little bit lighter. From Virginia to Florida, from New York to Nevada, their stories are captured here.
Meet Finnigin, a shaggy goldendoodle who truly believes he’s just one of the kids; Sadie, a boxer who helps her human mom deal with some pretty heavy stuff; Ajja, a wound-up black Lab with a fondness for fishing; and more. We even caught up with a sportsman and his Newfoundland, who looks more like a bear than a dog when they paddle together in the Mediterranean Sea.
Sometimes the person saved the dog. Sometimes the dog saved the person. Sometimes they’re just loving their lives together, especially on the water. Paddle Tails gives you a taste of each, with stories from paddleboarders, canoeists, kayakers, and fishermen of various lengths for your reading preference.
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“Our desire to give him a better life inspired us to live a better life.
– Rebecca & Garth Riley
“There’s something, especially here, about paddling surrounded by skyscrapers that puts things in perspective. You’re in a little boat in this big, powerful, intimidating city. It puts the focus where it should be.”
– Jens & Gertie
“I try to involve her in everything I do, especially paddling” Christina said. “She loves the water so much, I just can’t leave her behind.”
– Christina & Ajja
“When you climb, it’s just you mastering the rock; but when you paddle, there’s a centeredness and soul-building peace that takes place within nature and all its beauty,” Christine said. “It’s just another way for Finnigin to spend time with us in the adventure of life.”
– Christine & Finnigin
About the Authors
Maria Christina Schultz
Outdoor enthusiast, ACA-certified stand up paddleboard instructor, art director, and photographer. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Maria is now based in central Virginia, where she lives with her husband and two Australian shepherds, Riley and Kona. The first day Maria got on a stand up paddleboard, Riley was with her; they learned the sport together. They attracted lots of attention and curiosity from people who wanted to learn to paddle with their own dogs. But with few resources available on training and guidance, Maria took matters into her own hands. She combined her passions for graphic design, photography, and paddling to create her first book, How to SUP With Your PUP. Maria also teaches SUP PUP classes in Virginia, and other cities along the East Coast. When she’s not out paddling with her dogs, Maria also enjoys, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, skiing, and finding new ways to wear herself – and her dogs – out.
Lisa Chinn Marvashti
Lisa started her writing and editing career at a daily newspaper in the ’90s. She’s written about everything from belly-lights and mantyhose – yes, man-ty-hose – to health and the military. Her work has appeared in publications as diverse as The Denver Post and Jet Ski Magazine. When she isn’t hauling her kids to soccer (NOT in a minivan) or keeping her husband on task, she likes to spend time with her sweet yellow Labrador, Jackson.