Paddle Tails

Reflections on people and dogs who find balance on the water

Maria Christina Schultz
Lisa Chinn Marvashti

Ruffwear Ambassador Maria Christina Schultz discovered stand up paddleboarding (SUP) with her dog Riley years ago, as a means to spend more time together outside and to strengthen their human-dog bond. This time spent out on the water with Riley ignited a passion in Maria and drew attention from others, inspiring them to try paddleboarding with their dogs, too. Maria became an American Canoe Association-certified stand up paddleboard instructor and created her first book, How to SUP With You PUP, to further guide and encourage dog owners to share the sport with their best furry friends. Now, Maria’s passion has come full circle, and the stories of humans and dogs she has met through SUP have inspired her newest book, co-written with Lisa Chinn Marvashti, called Paddle Tails.

Paddle Tails Cover

Paddle Tails is a collection of stories about humans and dogs discovering each other, themselves, and a love for being on the water together. However, the first thing to note about Paddle Tails is that the reader need not be a stand up paddleboarding enthusiast. This really isn’t a book about SUP. It’s not even simply about being on the water, though the calming and healing effects of being in or around water are themes woven through many of the stories. Paddle Tails is about humans, their dogs, and the incredible growth that they achieve through their love for each other. It’s about getting outside together, trying something new, doing something you didn’t think you could do, and giving yourself or your dog another chance at happiness, at health, at life. It’s about living a life that’s bigger than yourself, because when you include your dog in your adventures and open yourself to learning from them, to discovering and growing together, that’s exactly what happens. Life gets a little bigger.

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Trevor DeHaas and Catahoula mix Kahlua, in Pennsylvania.

The thirteen short stories that comprise Paddle Tails offer inspiration, adventure, and lessons for dog lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. They’ll make you smile, laugh, shake your head, nod in agreement, and let’s be honest, maybe even shed a tear. There are little nuggets of wisdom and truth sprinkled throughout the stories, such as this from chapter four: “It is often said that dogs are reflections of their owners, mirroring each other’s personalities and passions.” Your jaw might drop when you read about a 165-lb Newfoundland who loves to SUP, and you might find yourself following a few more dog-themed Instagram accounts or looking up some of the dogs on You Tube before you finish the book.

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Maria and Australian Shepherds Riley and Kona, with Christina Altman and Chocolate Lab Ajja, in Florida.

Paddle Tails makes a fantastic read over and over, when you need a little encouragement or a reminder that dogs really do make the greatest companions. It’s the type of book that’s good to keep on hand, easy to pick up and put down, read aloud to friends or family, and it also makes a great gift for anyone in your life who loves dogs.

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Maria and Australian Shepherd Kona, with Lisa Godfrey and Boxer Sadie, in Richmond, Virginia.

You can find both Paddle Tails and How to SUP With Your PUP here. If you’re in the Richmond, Virginia, area this week (May 19-23, 2016), come see Maria and get a signed book at Walkabout Outfitter (Thursday, May 19, 5-7pm). Sign up for a SUP with your PUP demo with Maria this weekend (May 21-22) at Dominion RiverRock, where you can also demo a Ruffwear Float Coat. Stop by the Ruffwear booth to register.

Follow all of Maria’s adventures with her dogs Riley and Kona on Instagram (@sup_with_pup)!