5 min read

Dog Stays Behind When Family Takes Boat Out — Then Quickly Changes His Mind

"We were in the process of trying to turn our big pontoon around ... but I guess he was impatient.”

Charlie’s family rescued him when he was around 4 years old, and he’s been following them everywhere they go ever since. The only time Charlie doesn’t follow his family is when they take their boat out on the water, as boats usually make him nervous. 

“He typically gets really bad anxiety around any large moving objects,” Randi Mendenhall, one of Charlie’s family members, told The Dodo. “He either waits at the truck or just goes back through the woods to get home. We never force him to get on with us to spare him the anxiety!” 

Recently, though, Charlie followed his family all the way to the boat dock near their house and sat on the shore as they boarded. As they watched Charlie getting smaller as the boat headed out, they quickly realized something was different — and that Charlie actually wanted to join them for once. 

“Once we got the boat out of the slip we realized he was acting really sad this time, so we started filming because it was so unusual for him,” Mendenhall said. “Right before we started recording we told my dad to turn around to go get him. We were in the process of trying to turn our big pontoon around in a no-wake zone but I guess he was impatient.” 

Rather than wait for the boat to come back to get him, Charlie decided to take matters into his own paws, and leapt into the water and began swimming toward the boat. 

dog swims to boat
Randi Mendenhall

“It took him maybe 45 seconds to a minute to get to us,” Mendenhall said. “We were too scared to move the boat any faster and [possibly] accidentally hurt him so we cheered him on! He’s a chunky boy so we knew he wouldn’t be able to climb on, which is why my fiancé jumped in to hoist him up!” 

dog swims to boat
Randi Mendenhall

As soon as he reached the boat, Charlie’s family helped him on board, and they couldn’t help but smile at how happy he was to be joining them all. Apparently Charlie had overcome his boat anxiety, and was now ready to be a full-fledged member of the crew. He had the best time on the boat that day, and even got to go to a dog-friendly restaurant with his family for a snack — and they have a feeling he’s going to be accompanying them on all future boat trips. 

dog swims to boat
Randi Mendenhall

“He was ECSTATIC to be on the boat with us,” Mendenhall said. “Now that we know he’s over his fear we got him his own life vest and he will be a permanent member of the boating crew!”