It’s usually pretty easy to take Lila for a walk in the spring, summer or fall, but sometimes the winter can be challenging. This winter has not been too bad if you consider that Lila and I have been able to go for a three-mile walk every Saturday except two times. The two times we didn’t venture out was when it was too cold. Too cold for me means that it is below 10 degrees. Luckily, I am the one who gets to decide whether or not to go.
The first big steps that we take are right across the street. Our neighbor shoveled a path for the dog walkers that is a shortcut and goes over a big pile of snow. Once, after a big snow storm, Lila pulled me up that path, and somehow I got off-balance and slowly fell over sideways. It was a soft fall because the snow was fluffy and so were my clothes. Fortunately, I knew to let go of her leash when she traveled down the other side.
It is always a good feeling to see other people and canines walking around the park too because it makes me feel like we are not the only crazy ones! On very warm days, like when it gets above 20 degrees, many people are out walking or jogging. Plus we knew it was warmer because the birds were making sure to let us know.
Once, when I was doing a little bit of daydreaming about how the sun made the snowflakes sparkle, Lila found a frozen ball of something that I think was a dead mouse. She began to let it melt in her mouth. First I yelled at her to drop it and told her it was “icky,” which sometimes works. When I was ready to go in after it, she munched away, swallowed it down whole and happily continued on our walk. I’m guessing she was hoping to find another critter.
Another time, when I was remembering how we used to be able to see some water gently flow in the creek, she found what I thought was a stick. After taking a closer look, I realized that it was a leg of some small animal and that bit of a critter ended up disappearing pretty quickly too.
After Lila devours those types of treats, I worry that they will end up making an appearance on the carpet in the family room a few hours later. But, thankfully, they continued on the usual course.
Lila also likes it when she finds very large branches. She carries them along, and I worry that all that weight might cause her to break or lose a tooth. But, Lila doesn’t seem worried. She just looks proud that she can carry such a large branch. I’ve learned that it’s best to stay out of her way, because if she turns her head quick, a person could end up with a big bruise on their leg.
Even though we enjoy our time walking together, I am always glad when we get back home. I anxiously open the door and am surprised that I am so warm. Lila must feel warm too because she stays in the front yard to dig up snow, munch on a stick or bathe in the sun.
We are so lucky to have a hearty dog that gets us outside in the fresh air. At least that’s what I keep telling myself!
What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. ~Author Unknown