Earlier this week, I ran into a new dog walker who was experiencing her first winter. “Is it always like this?” she asked, sounding as if she might cry at any moment. We were standing on the sheet of ice that was supposed to be the dog run with a cold wind whipping off the Hudson. The dogs were slipping and sliding around us. I evaded a little so as not to freak her out. “I’ve been doing this six years,” I told her. “The good news is once you’ve made it through your first winter, you can officially call yourself a dog walker. Most new walkers don’t make it past January.” This seemed to cheer her sufficiently.
Dog walking in winter can be onerous. It’s definitely my least favorite time of the year and I’ve sworn each winter for the past two years that this one would be my last. It’s months and months of freezing temperatures, icy terrain, putting on dog sweaters, wiping off icy salty paws, wearing so many layers that you can’t remember what your actual shape looks like and, of course, the de rigueur bitching about the weather.
But then the forecasters call for snow and all is forgotten. I become a little kid, gleeful with anticipation. It’s not that dog walking will be easier; it’s not. It’s actually the worst time to schlep around when there is a lot of heavy snow to contend with. But like the woman who has another child even after experiencing the pains of labor, as soon as I know snow is coming, I get giddy.
There is only one reason for this. THE DOGS LOVE IT! From the youngest puppy experiencing her first snowfall to my Weimaraner Cinder who forgets all her aches and pains and kicks up her heels, dogs just can’t get enough of the snow.
Today the snow started early. There was only a dusting in the run with my Pink Ladies group, but it was enough to have everyone running like mad. Dash, my little dachshund, took advantage of the snow-covered ice to run a few feet then slide on her back, using her sweater as a sled. She did this over and over for the entire time we were there. Sasha, Bella, and Feather used their time to wrestle and run nonstop.
Then it was time for the puppy group. There was by now almost 1/2 inch of snow to play in and the puppies took full advantage. Ace and Lilly (a shitzpoo and cockapoo) who are six and seven months old both went nuts. They spent their time running and leaping around with their best friend Bitsy. The older kids, Maisy and Jason, not to be outdone did plenty of winter activities as well. Jason dug a hole for his nose in the snow, followed by a good spin on his back. Maisy, my singing standard poodle, entertained us all with her happy chant of “WOOO Wooo” as she raced back and forth across the run.
By the time my late afternoon group reached the park, we had some decent accumulation. Cinder and her friends Sasha, Bella and Lilly all careened crazily in the snow. Lilly used her head as a plow, delighting in moving the snow back and forth. Sasha and Bella did what they do best: wrestled. Cinder supervised all the young kids and, when she thought no one was looking, even tossed a stick in the air.
We’ll have more snow by morning and although the sidewalk snow will be dirty and gross, the forecast for the park is another great SNOW DAY!