(Exclusive)? Couple Goes Viral Living on Boat with Two Dogs. What Happens When Pups Have to Go to the Bathroom

A couple who has gone viral sharing their life aboard a boat say their two dogs "love boat life" and have learned how to exercise, eat and do their business in an altogether different way than most house pets

Published Time: 08.05.2024 - 21:31:08 Modified Time: 08.05.2024 - 21:31:08

A couple who has gone viral sharing their life aboard a boat say their two dogs "love boat life" and have learned how to exercise, eat and do their business in an altogether different way than most house pets.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Brett and Jade Evans say their dogs — Dingo and Penny — "love exploring and getting off the boat, but when we're at the beach and we tell them it's time to go home, they are just as excited to go home, to the boat."

Brett and Jade began living the "boat life," as they call it, during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

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That's when they purchased the vessel — named Eva — from a salvage auction when both were furloughed from their jobs. "We suddenly had a lot of time on our hands and decided it was time to realize our dream of traveling the world by wind," Brett says. "We rebuilt the boat ourselves and the whole family moved onboard later that same year."

The whole family includes Dingo and Penny, who were ages 4 and 2 when the couple moved aboard the boat.

According to Jade, the dogs "adapted faster than we did to this life and unlike us humans, have never gotten seasick."

"When sailing, they love to stand with their faces to the wind — similar to a happy dog with their face out a car window," she adds.

Of course, boat life comes with its fair share of challenges, though the couple says the dogs haven't had much trouble at all.

Both dogs, who were rescues, are high energy and counterintuitive as it may seem, living on a small boat is ideal for them.

Getting on and off the vessel is easier than it might seem for Dingo and Penny, who can hop from the dinghy onto the transom at the back of the boat. But if they're sandy, the couple has the dogs jump off the dinghy and swim the last few feet to the back of the boat before climbing aboard via a floating dog ramp they put out while on anchor. 

As for how the dogs use the bathroom, Jade says it's typically when they go to the beach — "which means they have a life full of beach trips," she adds.

"They almost always come with us when we leave the boat and get to run all they want," she says.

During the longer passages at sea, however, the dogs have learned to go potty at the front of the boat on the deck — "quite literally making it the 'poop deck,' " Jade says.

"We perform a maneuver called 'heaving to,' which arranges the sails and the r -

udder in such a way to bring the boat to a stop, then we escort them on deck using harnesses, tethers and jack lines to make sure everyone is safe," she adds.

"When it comes to exercise, they have so much of it now that we actually had to switch to high calorie sport dog food in order to meet their increased calorie needs," Brett says.

The couple spends the bulk of their travels in "remote, often uninhabited places," which gives the dogs a certain level of freedom when it comes to playtime.

"They get to run and play on land and obviously swim, nearly every day," Brett says. "One of the most common misconceptions about the sailing lifestyle is about how often we 'out to sea.' The reality is that almost all of our time is spent anchored just off of land."

He continues: "We'll sail stretches of ocean to reach a certain area, and then once arrived we can travel along the coasts or from island to island doing 'day sails,' meaning we are at the beach with the dogs in the morning and at a different beach with them that same evening."

In 2023, for instance, the couple only spent 39 days total out to sea, with 90 percent of their time spent "playing on beaches and exploring coastal towns."

During the times that land isn't in sight, the couple takes a more classic pet-owner approach to exercise, tug-of-war and chew toys included.

And while they live on a boat, it is a spacious one, with three cabins (bedrooms) and two heads (bathrooms), equating to roughly 500 square feet of livable space — or about as much as a standard tiny home.

The dogs each have their own pet passports, but are still required to visit a local vet each time the couple enters or exits a country. And just like their owners, they are well-traveled, having visited eight countries and counting. "We expect to increase that number to 16 but the end of 2024," says Jade.

As far as diet goes, both Dingo and Penny do eat dried kibble — though their palates are a bit more refined, due to their circumstance. 

"They get to eat lots of fresh fish that we either caught on a line or speared," Jade says. "Often they eat just as much fresh fish as they do dry kibble."

Jade says that, while Dingo and Penny's lives might look a little different than their city dog counterparts, their daily routines aren't all that different — other than, of course, the ambiance.

"Like a city dog spends hours sitting at a window watching cars and pedestrians, our dogs sit on deck and watch the fish, sharks and birds go by."

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