Take your puppy, too

Canine Cruise lets you bring your dog along

Kids and dogs are meant for one another. Just add water, the Chicago skyline and it doesn't get much better.

My two boys and my sweet puppy, Cassie, (OK, she's closer to age 8 than puppyhood) had a wonderful 90 minutes of sailing on the Mercury Chicago's Skyline Canine Cruise, which takes off at 10 a.m. every Sunday through Sept. 24.

Yes, there are a few inequities here between the species.

All the dogs are leashed. The people are not. All the dogs get biscuits-in our case-two rounds. The people do not. All the dogs get to drink from a communal dish of iced water. The people do not. Instead, we got to drink in the magnificent skyline on a beautiful sunny day. Still, we, the people, spent more time hearing about the city's classic buildings instead of sniffing our neighbors.

We also got to enjoy the humorous narrative of our deck hand, actor Scott Duignam-maybe you saw him in "Road to Perdition?" While the dogs really heard nothing but Maxine, a vocal yellow Labrador with a smart looking scarf. (OK, we all heard Maxine, but it didn't bother any of the dog lovers on board.)

The bottom line is simple: This is a special way to see the beauty of the city with your pet and your children. It was a nice change to be able to take the dog somewhere rather than to have to pull away from the house and look at those forlorn eyes peaking out through the curtain.

"It was a perfect day for us," said Lee Ann Kuhn of Mount Prospect, who was there with her son, Kevin, and their friend, Spooky. "It had all the things we love. We love being with the dog. We love being with friends and being together and we love being on the water."

Kuhn said she would take the cruise again but bring her extended family next time.

The literature on this claims that more than 400 dogs enjoyed the cruise last year. Please make sure your dog is the social type.

No reservations are taken. So, best to stop by the ticket window early, at 8:30 a.m., buy your tickets for the cruise and then take a walk north along the lovely river front.

Tickets are sold where you board the boat, underneath the Michigan Avenue Bridge on the southeast corner of the lower level, just below the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

It's $18 for adults, $8 for children under age 12 and $5 for the doggie dear. For information, call (312) 332-1353 or visit www.MercurySkylineCruiseline.com.

Susy Schultz


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