Standup paddleboarding is a popular sport in the Florida Keys, appealing to a diverse cross-section of people who want to "unplug." Some canine-craving paddlers even take their dogs along for the ride.
For Florida Keys resident Karly Venezia, however, evening paddleboard excursions mean chicken companionship with her one-year-old pet, "Loretta," a Rhode Island Red.
"Loretta’s very curious and follows us around the yard," said Venezia, the director of sales for a large resort who grew up in Key West, where free-roaming chickens are a common sight. "Living in the Florida Keys, we like to get out on the water, so it only seemed natural to us to take Loretta paddleboarding and boating and things that we do with our dogs."
Karly Venezia enjoys a late afternoon paddle Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, with her pet chicken, Loretta, off the Florida Keys near Islamorada, Fla. Venezia says Loretta enjoys boating with her and her husband, Mike, who is a Keys backcountry fishing guide. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Bob Care/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO) Florida Keys News Bureau
Venezia said Loretta always seems to have a great time during paddleboarding jaunts, sitting and watching quietly at the front of the board. Loretta displays no fear of the water or paddle movements, defying the dictionary’s "cowardly" slang definition for chicken.
Watching the duo cruise along a protected kayak trail at sunset is simply "poultry in motion."
"Paddleboarding’s very calming and I like hanging out with Loretta; she’s an awesome pet to have," said Venezia. "So for us, I think coming out here and getting to enjoy the beautiful sunsets is what makes living in the Keys so special."