Let me tell you about a fishing location that is super pet friendly. Lake Purdy, near Birmingham Alabama .
We recently went on an all day fishing trip and when we were getting ready to get on the boat the guy mentioned a fellow who comes up to just ride around the lake, doesn’t fish at all, with his dog, a pretty collie.
“Wait” I said. “You’re dog friendly.” Oh yeah! The fellow responded. “You mean my dog can go on the boats!?” Yep!
Say no more, sir. You have suddenly become my new best friend.
I had been bemoaning the trip because while I like to fish a little while- I do not like to fish all day. I like to read. I like to hike. I like to play with the dog. I do not like to fish all day. So I was all moany like “I wish I could bring Whiskey ::insert sad wife pout grumble::” and now… now I can.
Here is a link to their page. They do run specials (we got our boat for half off) and if you have a motor then you’re definitely in the best boat (no pun intended… or maybe terrible pun was intended haha!) financially because it will save you quite a bit. They have a wide variety of boats. No private vessels are allowed. Also, make sure to talk to the guys before going out- they are a wealth of information. I could have just sat around talking to them all day. If you aren’t an avid fisherman don’t worry. These guys couldn’t have been nicer to a novice like me. They answered every question and were so informative! You could tell the loved their jobs… and why wouldn’t they?
Don’t like to fish? No worries. This is a mecca for birdwatchers and animal enthusiasts. We saw a small family of maybe 3-5 deer wading through the lake to get to part of the shore which they then climbed onto and rushed up a hill. We saw a variety of large herons and the like flying about all day. And we didn’t even canvas the lake. I plan to harass ask Brandon nicely (a lot) when we can go back and drive around the perimeter of the lake so I can see more critters. The boat rental place has lots of people just come up to ride around on the lake (like the Collie and his owner) so don’t feel weird about it! Pack a lunch and hit the water for a relaxing day out.
Also if you like being on the water at night they have night boat rentals. Seriously cool.
I was also very interested in the history of the lake. It’s been there well over a hundred years when they dammed it up. You can’t get near the dam now (it’s guarded and has a long line of nets to keep boats back) but it looks really pretty from the top of it anyway. It’s a matter of security why they do this. It’s been restricted since 2001 since it is a water supply for our area. Apparently when they dammed the lake there used to be a small school house, and town that was flooded over to make the lake it’s current size (the original lake was waaaay smaller).
So if you’re like us and are thinking of taking your dog on a boat trip- check out these helpful tips for dogs and boating.
- Ohio’s Dog and Boating tips: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/watercraft/safetytips/dogs/tabid/2132/Default.aspx
- Discover Boating Article: http://www.discoverboating.com/resources/article.aspx?id=511
- Global Animal’s sad story of a dog overboard, but with a happy ending because they dog was equipped with a life jacket with contact info on the dog http://www.globalanimal.org/2012/06/08/dog-overboard-canine-safety-on-boats/75770/#sthash.erVxQ8IV.dpbs
And if you’re dog is not familiar with water/boating you might want to have a back up plan. For instance- you do not want to force your dog to walk the shaky gangplank to his doom if he’s seriously freaking out about the boat. Also, not all dogs are good swimmers. Don’t take your dog on the boat if you haven’t already worked with him on swimming. It took us an entire summer to get Whiskey to swim! As for the backup plan- Make sure you have a person who can perhaps stay on shore and work with him until he’s ready to get on the boat. Or better yet, don’t pay for the boat until you see if your dog is a water friendly, boat dock friendly pup. If he’s not, it’s better you haven’t paid for hours you can’t use. Just drive him home and then come back sans pooch if he truly panics. If you’re coming to Purdy from anywhere around the B’ham metro area this shouldn’t be that much of a chore to do, and in the end will be better for everyones mental health. Always be prepared for the randomness of dogs though. We’ve loaded Whiskey onto a boat before with no problem, then the last time a few weeks ago we had to spend an hour with him on shore hanging out- just me and him watching Brandon fish and explore the lake until Whiskey was suddenly (but still reluctantly ready to board the boat). But once he was on the boat he was a-okay.
Lastly, it is *always* a good idea to invest in and have your dog wearing a dog life jacket in case he falls overboard or decides to go daredog and dive in. Remember too that if a dog doesn’t have an easy way to board back onto the boat he can get injured if he jumps off and tries to climb back in. I have a friend who got seriously bruised and scratched up trying to get her dogs back into the boat after they went overboard.
Well, I hope you can go out and explore this little niche of Alabama woods and history. It was a lot of fun. Next time we will be bringing Whiskey!
Some helpful links:
A beautiful Youtube video shot (not by us!) by youtube user Particlelight. I hope if you live far away and can’t visit Lake Purdy you’ll check out their awesome shots of it. Beautiful!