When you are a dog walker you become focused on the weather. From the minute I wake up to 680 news on the radio I lay there with bated breath to hear how the day will play out weather wise. It is a very fast way to crush a super mood when hearing of the wind chills, an all-day stormy forecast or my personal least favorite – freezing rain!
This winter – to say the least – has been totally bizarre. It truly has been Sprinter – more spring than winter – all around. I must say I have no complaints except for one, the MUD! We have benefitted from above seasonal temperatures on many days, resulting in any snow on the ground melting quickly; hence squishy lawns or park turf.
I have discovered that the off leash park is perfection first thing in the morning, with temperatures having hovered the previous night below zero. The dog’s frozen footprints resemble 3D wallpaper all over the ground creating a unique story. It reminds me of the Family Circle cartoon from the newspapers that would show a trail of muddy footprints – often illustrating where children had walked and the trouble that they had gotten themselves into.
I think I have tripled my laundry loads this sprinter from wiping off dirty paws and underbellies. Thank goodness for my sprayer I use to hose the dogs off with on return from an adventure. I fill it with warm water and voila a clean pooch can be rediscovered after a spraying off in the driveway.
I have noticed dogs going wild for scents on the walks, as the ground becomes a heaven of undiscovered stories for them to investigate every time we have yet another thawing!
I have enjoyed less rock salt on the Toronto sidewalks thank goodness! Every winter I really get frustrated with owners dousing heaping amounts in front of their homes thinking more is better! It burns the dog pads on their paws, which is obvious by the constant lifting of a leg to express displeasure. The pet friendly options are so much better! Thank you to those who are using it.
This week I have noticed tulips coming up and other spring flowers while out on my walks. My father in law has told me when bringing in wood for their wood burning stove up north the mosquitoes come alive in the warmth of their house! This is not a good sign for the real spring ahead and for those heading to cottage country with their dogs! We need a steady cold snap to keep a lid on the bug situation.
My biggest frustration is what footwear to put on – rain boots or Bogg boots for dry and warm feet, hiking boots for drier cooler days or a light winter boot with two pairs of socks! My umbrella has remained in my car, and my lined raincoat has not had a season off yet. My rain/splash pants win first prize for consistently being worn under one of three jackets. Perfect for the puddle splash on the curbside and for dogs leaning against me or when drying them off. They cut the wind beautifully too!
The dogs of course have benefitted by the higher temperatures and less wind chill, and from the extra tantalizing odors everywhere on walks. The biggest perk I have realized is no serious snowballing on their legs or between their toes – a serious winter hassle for any owner. I was told a quick fix is a leg/paw dip in a bucket of warm water and voila instant defrosting and a quick drying off time expedited by a towelling off. This really works! This saves so much time waiting for the snow balls to melt off indoors or manually trying to pick them off.
People are definitely happier on the street with our sunnier days, better driving conditions, and the opportunity to get outdoors with friends and family – both the two and four-legged – to embrace the unexpected weather. I wonder what the last months of Sprinter will bring… stay tuned!
What are the pros and cons you have discovered regarding your pet in Sprinter?