My dog has grown up at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters in the wilderness where loons call, moose mosy and fish splash next to the canoe. Even with all of his canoe time he is still an animal and an unpredictable one at that.
Last year I was paddling a canoe in the BWCA with my nieces and Rugby decided to take a leap for Josh who was in a kayak next to us. Rugby had never jumped from a canoe before and we have no clue what possessed him to do it that day but he did. We struggled in the wind and the waves to scoop him back into the canoe and thankfully we didn't tip in the process.
Things could have turned out differently had we capsized the canoe or kayak in the Boundary Waters. I was responsible for my two nieces, my daughter, my son and my dog. The water and air temperature were warm and we were close to shore however I risked the safety of my people family to save my dog.
Every time I hike a BWCA portage or let my dog off the leash at a wilderness campsite I risk losing him. If he gets on the trail of a moose, deer or grouse he could easily become hurt, lost or worse. It's very sad to see a sign at a BWCA canoe landing that announces a lost dog. It could happen very easily and I worry about his well-being and how I would feel if something happened to him.
Consider the following when deciding whether or not to bring your dog into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Taking responsibility for your dog is a necessity if you want to bring it into the BWCA wilderness with you. You must protect other visitors, wildlife, the wilderness and the dog itself. The owner must be responsible for picking up after their pet, keeping the dog quiet, making sure the dog doesn’t harass wildlife or defecate at campsites, dig up lichen or get into someone’s packs at a portage. The dog may always stay at your side while walking in a park but on a wilderness portage it may not act the same when it is unfamiliar with its surroundings. Even if the dog is leashed it can escape with the leash on and become tangled in brush, injured or worse yet, it can become lost in the wild never to be seen again.