Canine Contraband


Sunday morning dawned and I already knew that plans were afoot to take the tinny out somewhere. The big question was “am I invited?” I made all the right noises and “pick me, pick me” signals typical of your average water loving labrador.

Thankfully just as the back door closed, the car engine started and the tail lights on the tinny trailer started flashing encouragingly, I heard the familiar dangle of the lead and the side gate clicking open.

My goodness had they keep me in suspense. At least a whole 10 minutes.

I don’t really like car travel.

It makes me dribble and you never quite know where you’re going to end up.

A boat trip on the other hand almost always guarantees a splash in the river, a roll in some sand and the wind flapping my ears.

By the time we had left the concrete jungle and I was starting to get a whiff of eucalypt and the unmistakable odour of muddy sand and salty river water, we came to a halt near suspicious looking booth sporting an upsetting notice stating “no dogs”. Suspicion confirmed. I often wonder why they don’t think to put a sign up for cats.

Anyway we’d come too far now and there were no yogi bears (rangers) in site so we drove on.  I could already sense Charley’s agitation at the situation. As we descended the hill and the water came into view my worst fears were realised. A ranger ute was approaching from the opposite direction. I tried to keep my head down but I was struggling to contain my excitement at the prospect of getting into the water. As we passed on the road we locked gazes briefly. I could tell he was scared.

The pressure was on now to get on the water and make a quick getaway. We pulled up to the boat ramp reversed straight in, threw in the picnic gear and waited apprehensively whilst Reg parked the car and trailer. It was a nervous few minutes. It wasn’t so much getting caught that concerned me but the thought that our day out might come to an abrupt end if the yogi bear caught up with us before we were safely afloat and under the scrutiny of the maritime authorities instead.


Anyway it didn’t matter now as we fired up the Mercury and sped off down Cowan Creek. I felt like an illegal stowaway or some kind of smuggler cargo. After an hour or so of zooming around at 15 knots we soon landed on a sandy beach and I leapt into the cool water and rolled in the sand. Heaven.

After my swim I had to suffer the humiliation of being tied to a tree for the benefit of some lace monitors, who really didn’t seem to give a hoot. They just cruised up and down past the picnic and stuck their tongue out at me.

The yogi bear encounter was not yet over. When we returned to the boat ramp there was a queue but thankfully no sign of a Yogi. Yet. So far so good. We packed up the tinny with the same haste as we launched, with a few disapproving looks but mostly complete admiration of my Labrador cuteness .

Just as we were pulling away up the hill, at the same point as our previous encounter, there in the near distance was the ranger. He’d missed all the action and had no chance of catching us now. We laughed all the way home.

Look out for Rhubarb’s next blog which will bring you info on how to select a lifejacket for your dog.

Note: The author of this blog does not condone taking dogs into national parks. The incident was an accident of poor planning and we do not make a habit of it.

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  1. Good work Rhubarb!
    I’m on the countdown to Easter when most of the beaches around Falmouth commence their seasonal dog ban. Just two weeks to go :(
    Fortunately it also coincides with Polly and Dan putting the boats back in the water for the summer so we can access other more accommodating dog havens.

    1. Thanks Megan. You would have loved it at Colo river this weekend. I’d love to visit Falmouth, it looks great in the photos. Sadly I dont have a doggie passport and I’d have to have a lengthy stay in the kennels and I’m not too keen on air travel. You’re lucky you get to go on the beaches in the off season, I’m banned from most beaches all year round over here!

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