Sadie and “SUPing”

By Leslie Silverman


They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I don’t know who “they” are but I am calling their bluff on this one.

I have an “old” dog. She’s 10-1/2. She’ll be 11 in November. And while she’s young for her age she’s considered a senior.

This summer she learned a new trick. In fact so did I. My very young friend Carissa introduced us to the world of “SUP.”

Carissa is not old enough to rent a car, a fact she reminded me just the other day as we were climbing Devil’s Tower.

Nonetheless, Carissa got Sadie and me into SUPing this summer. For those of you wondering, SUP is short for stand up paddleboard. SUPing is a word I likely made up!

Anyhow, Carissa loaned me one for the summer.

I figured it would take me all summer to learn to stand up. I figured wrong. The first time I went out, Sadie stayed tied up on the shore.

Carissa showed me how to stand up and 10 minutes in, I tried it and voila (meaning “there it is” in French, not walla, which is wrong but for some reason people say anyway) I stood up — and I never fell!

Unlike kayaking, SUPing involves your whole body and I was hooked! The second time I went out, Carissa was at work and Sadie was loose and free on to the shore of the lake.

As I was getting ready to get on my SUP Sadie jumped on it. Problem was the SUP was in the lake already and bam, Sadie and the SUP were floating away from the shore. Fast. And the SUP had no leash, nor did my dog.

I was fully clothed and not prepared to get cold and wet. Luckily a nearby angler loaned me his rod and I fished the board back in.

Sadie jumped off.

Instead of tying her up, I decided to “go for it” and see if I could SUP with Sadie. I coaxed her on and got on and away we floated. I was still kneeling.

Kneeling is hard on the knees, so I decided to stand. And I did. And just then Sadie decided to stand too. Sigh! But somehow we didn’t tip! We were both SUPing!

I longed for a picture of this but me, phone, dog, SUP. That just sounded bad.

Sadie was a good passenger. She learned to take lake drinks while we were paddling and I managed not to butt her in the head with the paddle!

The third time we got out Sadie jumped right on and I followed fast behind. I was kneeling when Sadie stood up and went behind me.

I was a little mad until I realized she was trying to tell me we were on the board facing the wrong way. She’s crazy smart—Border Collies!

So now we are floating with very little ability to maneuver because the fin is in front not behind.

Would I dare stand up and turn myself around? (or do the hokey pokey) Yes! I may be old, next birthday is the big 50, but I still feel young. And I figured I wouldn’t let my dog show me up!

So I managed to face forward, Sadie stayed in the rear and we SUPed till dark!

Now while some of you might be saying 49 isn’t old and 10-1/2 (63-1/2 in dog years) is middle age for dogs, I will agree to an extent.

But how many of you, at whatever “old” age you are, are willing to step out of your comfort zone? Will you be like my mom, who went tent camping for the first time ever at age 65?

Or will you be the 40, 50, 60, 70 or 80 something who says, “I’m too old to try that?” Millennials have that YOLO (you only live once) mentality which makes them stupid on one hand and brilliant on another.

I like the Thailand version better… never try never know!