Friday, May 15, 2009

When It's So Cold Your Paws Freeze

My family and I were not dog owners. We had one quiet house cat before we adopted Jack-o-lantern (Jack for short) from our wonderful local Humane Society. We also had always lived in urban or close-in suburban areas where our actual relationship to nature was primitive at best: A small patio or deck, an occasional flower box or bird feeder, now and then an invasion by ants or moths. Nothing too challenging.

Now we are adjusting to life-with-dog in a climate where for several months of the year the poor thing's paws can actually freeze to the front walk. Jack loves the snow and one morning I forgot and left him on his chain for a few minutes longer than usual. When I opened the front door he was looking at me, puzzled. It took me a minute to realize he was not running up to knock me over because he was having trouble lifting his paws off the ground. He was fine in a minute, but it doesn't seem to have taught him a thing about ice and snow and paws. I would buy him boots, but after seeing how many of my shoes and mittens he has torn through in one season, I doubt it would do any good.

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