When most people think of Colorado, they think of skiing and other winter sports. I'm a Colorado native and not only am I not a skier, snowboarder (save for one season in college), snowshoer or snowmobiler, but I really don't care for winter at all. I dread the short days, dark nights and cold temperatures, the donning of bulky gear and the scraping of frozen windshields. If I had my way, I'd just eat a bunch of pasta and hibernate until spring; however, I have dogs...dogs that need walks.
Boca's feelings on this snow and ice business mirror my own. She came from a tropical island and doesn't understand this cold, white sand. Ruby spent her first winter outings last year shivering, but seems to have acclimated quite well and got a serious case of the zoomies on my patio when it was covered with fresh snow this weekend. Both girls have very short hair and I feel that coats are a necessity for them when it's 30 degrees or less, which it has been more often than not for over a week now. Boca also wears booties because her paws seem especially sensitive.
As much as I drag my feet into my snow boots, I have to admit that winter-time walking does have its perks when you have a reactive dog. Here are some of the things I've grown to appreciate:
- Snow is a wonderful sound-proofer. With the exception of some new noises like the scrape of snow shovels and the rumble of the snow plow, things are generally quieter when snow blankets the ground. We've been enjoying some top-notch snuggling with less distracting noise from outside.
- The rabbits are less active! There is one that has made its den right outside my front door, but Ruby doesn't know that, and we have been seeing far fewer on our walks.
- Taking back the pavement! Aside from the most die-hard of runners, our streets and sidewalks are emptier and blessedly free of cyclists and skateboarders. We can even venture into the open space near my house without fear of many encounters.
- More playtime! With scarcer and shorter walks, I have to get creative with other ways for Ruby to burn energy. Much to her delight, we've been playing her most favorite thing - tug - more often, as well as working on increasing her confidence with fetch and brushing up on her tricks. My couch potato Boca is content to spend her extra time napping.
- It's actually kind of pretty out there. Let's be honest...if not for the dogs, I would be spending a lot more time in my pajama pants and a lot less time trying to figure out how I can manage the poop bags without taking my gloves off (spoiler alert: I can't). Seeing my breath is not high on my list of priorities, but sometimes, when the snow is crunching under my feet in that inexplicably satisfying way and Boca is doing her funny pony-bucks out of sheer joy and Ruby's cute snout is dusted with frost, I think for just a moment that winter is not so bad.