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Raising a Dog in the North?

There are times when it isn't fun to be a dog owner. Last evening was one of those times. The desert wind had kicked up, and I have lost all patience with the wind. So I was a grouch during the walk.

But wait...what would it be like in the North to take a dog for a walk in winter? How could the dog-partner possibly enjoy a walk through gloom & grey, freezing rain, and slop & slush? It is difficult to imagine the ordeal, if you have never experienced it. Does the dog-partner just open the back door; the dog quickly runs out into the backyard and does its doggie business; and then scampers back inside the house?

What kind of 'walk' do you call that? What happened to "animal rights!?"

Here I was, grousing about the wind and the rubble, but the temperature was mild, and sunset against the mountains was gorgeous. And rubble is still better than mud. Obviously, there is seldom any precipitation here.

At the very least my dog gets an off-leash frolic twice a day, early morning and near sunset, usually along linear rubble-channels ("roads") or curvy rubble-channels ("arroyos"). I certainly enjoy the arroyo walks best, and perhaps she does, too. It is strange how I have lost interest in recreational hiking, and yet, it is as enjoyable as ever to explore arroyos in chilly desert air with the warm desert sun at my back.

It is a good idea to leave a comb in your pocket. They are good for flicking off cholla segments from the dog's paws. It is surprising how good a desert-dog gets at avoiding the chollas. My herding-group dog has paws of kevlar, so rocks seldom bother her.

It still seems strange to try to do any of this in the North. Of course the dog does get some fresh snow to romp in, occasionally!


 Isn't the photo, above, a marvelous example of what a real photographer can do! Look at how a still-photograph can express motion. It practically jumps off the page at you. You need to brush the snow off your clothes.

In fact if you want to be uplifted into a cheery mood, do an internet search of "images of dogs in snow".


Brewed Journey said…
The photo is an accurate representation of time spent with a dog in the north--at least, Wisconsin, where rain and slop tend to be rare during winter. My Callie, a cattle dog/border collie mix, gets a four-mile walk at dawn on-leash. Then she gets a couple of off-leash romps on our hillside to retrieve her handled-ball, while I bring wood in by the wheelbarrow to heat our house. For most of the rest of the day, she doesn't stray far from the heat of the woodstove.

Brewed Journey, your dog, Callie, is lucky to be further north than the 40 Degree latitude that was my background. She gets to romp in real snow, rather than the slop and slush that I remember. She sounds like she has quite a lifestyle.
Phyllis said…
We are owned by a sweet Beagle that showed up on our porch a year and a half ago. Since we could not find his owner, he decided to move on in. He wants out first thing in the morning and back in at dark.

Since we live in the country he roams free. Seldom does he go off our property. But.... let it be storming, raining and really cold and he is at the front door. He has become a whimp.
Phyllis, sounds like a "free range" lifestyle for your beagle!