Last chance for doggy paddle: take to the Thames with dog-friendly rowing boats in Richmond

Richmond Bridge Boat Hire is offering dog-friendly rowing boats, so you and your canine friend can enjoy a day out on the Thames.

The service, which will run until the end of October, welcomes dogs of all sizes and has a fleet of boats to accommodate little or large numbers of dogs and their owners.

Mark Bridge from Richmond Bridge Boat Hire said: “We are very happy for customers to take their dogs in our boats.

“We often give them a slightly larger boat for this purpose.

“We also recommend that the owner wears a life jacket especially if the dog is large and potentially bouncy.”

ALL A-PAWED: Dogs and their owners can take to the river together

In August, Cristina Ulessi, 32, took her friend’s old English sheepdog, Paul Simon, out on the dog-friendly service.

She said: “At the beginning he did not want to get in the boat but once he was on he was not scared at all by the movement.

“He was very interested in looking around.”

She added that owners should be wary of their dog’s characters before taking them out on the water. “My dog is water obsessed so I wouldn’t take him with me,” she said.

When discussing the safety of the boating Mr Bridge said dogs do not usually try to jump out but that the trips are clearly the decision of the owner who has the knowledge of the dog and its character.

HOMEWARD BOUND: Paul Simon enjoys a trip out on the river

He said: “I don’t think providing dog lifejackets is a very good idea as they need to be appropriate to the specific dog weight and would need sterilizing after their use.”

Dogs go free on the boats and the crew will advise you on particular times to take advantage of the most favourable tides.

The idea is based on a similar initiative at Hollow Ponds Rowing Boat Hire which ran over the summer.

Richmond Bridge Boat Hire is located under Richmond Bridge and after the end of October will reopen the week before Easter next year.

Feature image shows Cristina Ulessi (right) and Paul Simon. Pictures from The Londog, with thanks.

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