Sunday, January 4, 2015

Winter is sometimes boring for dogs

The big guy is bored. 

But it’s snowing, wind blowing into a flurry of white swirl. A rabbit just darted across the back yard and he missed it, focused on the street. The birds are busy at the feeder, due to the storm, and do they know the temps are headed for a -30 F wind chill tonight? I am not sure how they survive. I am glad we at least left the back yard prairie up for the winter, to trim back in the spring. The birds use it for cover, to dart to the feeder.

This is when I dream of Florida. In 2011, I went to Gainesville four times over six months for my vet acupuncture course at the Chi Institute. It was a relief to leave the winter, get out of the plane, rent a car, and drive out under the live oaks, sans coat. Even when I arrived in the hotter months, my body sighed a little. Warmth. Plus I could see sunning gators, signs warning like this:

I have a couple of friends from vet school who live down there as well, working at the U of FL vet school. They have at least ¾ dozen larger dogs, last time I checked. Plus cows, goats, a raptor rehab aerie. When I was a kid, I dreamed of a place like for myself. But now I am happy to herd my small pack of Chihuahuas, but would like to have a little more space to see the stars away from city lights.

But out there, you have to be a little cautious with the little ones. Coyotes, great horned owls, foxes, hawks, raccoons. And up north, wolves, fishers. With four dogs, we tend not to see any wildlife, though.

And as it gets colder, my back aches more. The dogs congregate around the heating vents, and I hibernate under the sleeping bag on the couch, usually a dog trio stacked along my torso.

A junco is puffed up, weathering the weather, on the dried vine outside my office window. A panic of birds is at the feeder, eating as fast as they can: juncos, house sparrows, chickadees, a dove, house finches. There is scant space to hide from the wind.

I am going back under the sleeping bag. George chewed the zipper, so it does not close, but this then leaves more blanket for the dogs, part of her plan, I do believe. 

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