The Cold Weather Doggie Blues

At 40 below, Fahrenheit and Celsius are the same; not that our dog, Shadow, cares about that.

She may need to go outside to relieve herself, but her preference is to cross her legs, huddle in the back of her kennel in the kitchen and wait for warmer weather.

We kennel her at night so that if the inclination strikes her to wander off in search of a bit of carpet to be annoying on, she can’t. One thing we learned early is that she will not soil her kennel. She’s seldom desperate to leave it in the morning, so it’s not as if this routine is creating any kind of a hardship for her.

Shadow descended from a blend of sled dog (mother) and border collie (father), but she’s always been an indoor dog when it comes to winter. While the word “walk” (one of many she responds to), will send her into leaping paroxysms of ecstasy during moderate weather, the current cold snap has seriously diminished her interest in anything beyond the front porch and the back stairs.

In really cold weather we bundle her up with booties (getting them on her hind paws is the hardest part of the operation) and a sort of weather cape that a talented friend of ours made for her. The whole outfit looks a little bit weird, but it does the job.

Still, the border collie in her can lead her to mischief born of boredom if she doesn’t burn off some energy, so in really cold weather get her to run around outside the house from the back door to the front, making it a bit of a game. She’s usually good for about five circumnavigations of the perimeter before she makes it clear she’s had enough.

Tonight, however, she decided to make a liar out of me and reluctantly managed only two rotations. On the second, she sat on the back steps for quite a while giving the door the famous “border collie stare” that she uses on people in order to tell them they need to figure out what she wants them to do. I had to whistle from the front door four times before she finally conceded I wasn’t going to let her back in the way she went out.

When she did trot up the front steps and poke her nose in at the open door, she gave me a disdainful glance and looked over her shoulder at me all the way to her kennel, where she kept herself out of the way until I gave her a good ear rub.

I really couldn’t blame her; I didn’t like it out there either. 

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