Walking the Dog in the Snow


Our dog’s always been a cold weather dog. I think part of it is the thick black fur coat he wears all year long. In the summer, he suffers, and sneaks down to the basement to sleep on the cold, hard, concrete floor. He still does that in this weather, but not nearly as much. And he’s never quite figured out that he doesn’t need to sneak, we don’t care if he goes downstairs or not.

So, he’s really been enjoying the weather we’ve been having the past couple of weeks. I’ve been taking him out for long walks (2-3 miles) every morning. For the most part, he prefers to stay on the plowed road, but when I take him through the park, he’ll sniff at all the footprints he can find (even if they’re his from the day before), sneeze, then bounce all over the place.

Since we’ve had that broken water main on our street, they’ve been putting a lot of salt down on it. I don’t know what they put in the salt, or even if it’s really salt at all, but it hurts Rocky’s feet to walk in the melted salt water. He would look up at me piteously when we walked that stretch. Once we got up to the road that was just plowed, not salted, he was fine, and would return to his happy bouncy self. Even he eventually figured out what was causing his feet to hurt (whether or not he knew why), and started walking on the snow in that section, which was much easier on his feet.

It’s funny, you’d think that a 2-3 mile walk through the snow in temperatures twenty degrees below freezing would be as tiring for him as it is for me, but after the walk, he’d be all bouncy, and I’d have to “Grrr” at him to get him to calm down. This involves me standing in one spot, and saying “Grrr” to him, while he runs from one end of the house to the other, crazily. Then he comes back, and I say “Grrr” again. Apparently this is a really fun game. After a few minutes of this, he eventually gets himself a big drink, then goes and lays down, and can sleep the rest of the day comfortably.

Sometimes I wish I could do the same.