My heart broke a little this morning.
We have quite a few inches of snow on the ground, which is beautiful. There’s just something peaceful about the grass blanketed with snow. A layer of white covering everything in sight. A certain kind of quietness takes hold as you become mesmerized by the tiny to large snowflakes falling in front of you.
This beauty, however, has been hard . . .
I’ve never experienced having a dog during the winter where there’s snow.
At first Lucy, our 13-month old puppy, loved playing in the snow before it accumulated and made a few inch layer over the grass. I have video of her running in circles picking up small pieces and tossing it in the air before eating little pieces.
One of the challenges I have found is Lucy finding somewhere to go to the bathroom. There are certain areas of the backyard where she will go, which are all off to the side of the property.
The first day we had snow she walked me over to her typical spot. When she couldn’t find the grass and leaves, she became confused and took me to another corner of the property.
As we walked, her little paws sunk into the snow, which made her balance shake a little. On our way back to the house, she found my foot prints and started using those to walk on. That’s one smart pup. Although this helped, at one point she stopped and began climbing up my leg, so I picked her up and carried her back to the house. I knew by that point, she could not handle the cold anymore.
You hear all the time that animals are affected by the cold weather too. That they too should be taken out of the elements.
I know how cold the temperatures are to me. I could only imagine how cold it is for Lucy. My feet are covered, as well as my entire body with layer upon layer. A dog has it’s fur, which I’m sure isn’t nearly as thick and warm as it needs to be to protect them from the cold.
As of this morning I have a full understanding of just how cold the elements are for my puppy.
We went outside, so she could go to the bathroom. We walked down the sidewalk around the side of the house. There’s an open space under our house that has some vegetation that hasn’t been touched by the snow. This is the only area I have found where she will go to the bathroom.
My little pokey puppy, however, had to check out the snow and sniff along the fence that runs alongside our property for a while all while sinking further into the snow turning her belly white. There is a beautiful German Shepherd that lives next door that runs along that fence. Lucy was smelling her scent.
I finally was able to talk her into walking back under the house when she finally did her business. After telling her what a good girl she was we started walking through the snow to reach the sidewalk to the front door.
As soon as I opened the door, Lucy walked inside.
This is when the tears almost took hold . . .
When I closed the door Lucy collapsed after taking a few steps. As soon as her hind legs gave out, she started whimpering and looked up at me with the saddest eyes. The whimpering went right through me . . .
I quickly scooped her up and walked into my office where the little space heater was running. I wiped off her paws with a towel and sat in front of the heater with her in my lap until she stopped shaking.
Now I know just how cold and unpleasant it is for this poor little puppy to be outdoors.
When she was comfortable, I sat down and clicked on Facebook because it was showing I had a message. As I was scrolling through the feed I saw an article about keeping animals safe during this kind of weather.
The article said that dogs and cats have good heat exchange through their feet and pads, which means it doesn’t take much time for them to get cold. Dogs, according to the article, can get frost bite too.
I sure hope that’s not what Lucy just experienced.
My heart goes out to the dogs that are left outside during this kind of weather. Animals should have some kind of safe haven they can go to during extreme temperatures and weather conditions.
I know my puppy does. She is spoiled beyond belief . . . blankets, space heaters and even a little sweater to keep her warm.
I just hope that pet owners are smart and give their animals the correct care during snow storms and cold fronts that are expected to dip down into the negatives over the next few days.