Friday, January 20, 2012
The Joy of a Dog in the Snow
What is it about snow that makes most dogs act giddy and as excited as a young child who gets to build a snowman instead of going to school? Lily, my sweet Golden Retriever loves snow. If I didn't know better, I would swear she'd been born in the middle of winter and her first introduction to the outdoors had included the white flakes. But, she wasn't and it didn't. She made her entrance in July, a middle of the summer pup. She's a "lounge under the shade tree hound" on a nice warm day. When snow appears, however, she kicks it up a notch.
Upon receiving our first measurable coating of the white stuff this winter, Lily seemed a little confused. Bounding down the back porch stairs, she stopped suddenly. Ears and tail up, she was alert. She stared at the whiteness, as if to say, "Wait a minute. This wasn't here the last time I was out, but something about it seems familiar". Then recognition spread across her face and the body language screamed, "Oh, yeah! This makes me happy!". Then off she sprinted, running around like a mad dog on the loose. This would not have happened on green, unadorned grass.
Her agility is spectacular. Dodging trees, the deck and me, she zooms within inches of either smacking head-on into wood or taking my legs out from under me. I suddenly regret not pursuing the agility training I'd thought about when she was a puppy. When the running has appeased her, she practices "Stop, Drop and Roll" as if her life depended on it. Finally coated like a fury snowball, she figures burying her head a few times might bring some sort of satisfaction that only a dog understands. Then she reclines and finds some frozen snow, settling in to enjoy a treat while thinking she's hiding it from me. It's sort of difficult to hide the frosty delicacy since it sticks out of the side of her mouth, but she thinks she's being successful.
While reclining on the snowy carpet, ice sticking out of her mouth as if she's smoking it, I wonder how she couldn't be cold. But her demeanor is one of contentment. Life is good and she's happy just where she is. Coaxing her indoors isn't easy after the frolic but the promise of a treat and anything else I can come up with that sounds good to the canine ears eventually works.
The dry-off takes time. The snow is now small, frozen pellets sticking to her fur. Digging the accumulation from between her paw pads is a challenge. In harsher temperatures, we velcro the Orvis dog coat on her, which she is fine wearing. (I shouldn't mention the dog booties I once purchased for her that she hated. When I finally got them on her, she was as mobile as a stubborn mule, refusing to budge. I returned them to the store.)
Even after all of this, she is happy. It's a snow day for Lily. I enjoy snow days too unless I have to drive in them during rush hour, or shovel after blizzards...and that's another story.