Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Babuska edition


YakTrax: A winter dog walker's life saver

This is my third winter with Dahlia.  The first winter I had her I discovered something about my neighborhood.  Many people don't bother shoveling their sidewalks.  This may not seem like a really big deal but trust me, when you're trying to walk down those sidewalks it's a really big deal.  Often I was trudging through snow a foot or two deep or walking on snow that had been unevenly packed down by many people walking on it.

And then the worst thing happens.  It gets above freezing, the sun comes out.  That snow melts a bit and then at night it gets back below freezing and all that water on top of the snow becomes ice.

The first winter I had Dahlia I slipped on that ice multiple times. I fell a handful of times, though I never really hurt myself.  The following winter one fall wrenched my ankle really good and while it wasn't broken or sprained, it was sore for a few days.  Another time that second winter I fell and landed with most of my weight on one elbow.  I'm sure I tore something in my shoulder on that one and I still sometimes get pain from that fall.  I've never done any major damage but I'm all too aware that it's a possibility.  Fall enough times and one time you will really hurt yourself.  The last thing I need is a broken bone!

Last winter when I was hobbling around a neighbor of mine said "You really ought to get YakTrax."  She told me they would make walking on the ice really simple and much more stable.  She hadn't fallen since she had picked up a pair.  I was skeptical.  Who wouldn't be?  I've been walking on snow and ice all my life with boots of various traction levels and none kept me 100% upright.

But I picked up a pair that was on sale at the end of last winter anyway.  I got them for $15 (they retail for $20) so I figured even if they helped a little bit, they would be worth the investment.

This winter I used them.  And I was amazed at how much they helped.  Since the snow began falling on December 4, my little city has gotten over 70 inches of snow and the sidewalks are covered with ice and snow.  My YakTrax have gotten quite the workout and I can tell you this much: I have not slipped or fallen, not even on the worst of the ice.

I do not get any money for endorsing this product.  This is just from one dog walker to anyone who happens to read this blog.  If you live in a snowy or icy area, get some YakTrax.  I just have the basic Walker model, but they also come in a Pro model for people who do running or spend more time outside and an Extreme model for people who go into deeper snow and harder areas.

You can buy them direct from their website or find a retailer near you that sells them.  Trust me.  You won't regret it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Snow days!

We have been inundated with snow where I live.  We're generally known for a lot of snow in this part of the country, but the past few days have been crazy.  Dahlia's been loving the snow, at least until today.  It's now taller than her in many places and even where it's not it's often still up to her shoulders.  Allow me to show some photographic proof of the insanity of our snow!

Here's Dahlia on Saturday.  This is the day the snow began to fall.  As you can see, there's not much out there.  You can still see the grass poking through and if you step on the snow, it melts it right away. 
Dahlia says "This is barely snow, Mom.  You shame your people by calling this little bit of white stuff snow."

Ok Dahlia...we can have some snow!  Here she is on Monday.  As you can see, the snow has risen quite a bit and there's no sign of the grass beneath it!
"Ok Mom, this is starting to look like snow!"

Here she is on Tuesday.  Getting higher!
"Mom, I can almost swim in this stuff!  Looking good.  You can turn the snow machine off now!"

Sorry Dahlia.  The snow machine is still churning. Here are some pictures from today.


David put her hat on! She is NOT amused.

Holy *bleep*!  Look at how deep that snow is! 

Dahlia is through. She got so sick of the snow, she laid right down in the middle of the road. She loves the snow but this is too much even for her.  And yes, that is the middle of the road.

One last try with the hat!
"Geez!  Enough with the darned hat!"

Bonus! Hershey picture! Hershey lives across the road (some of you might remember Douglas, Dahlia's "boyfriend" who passed away last year...Hershey is their other dog). Hershey likes to hang out outside while our neighbor shovels.

Wordless Wednesday


Monday, December 6, 2010

Just how much English can dogs understand, anyway?

I took Dahlia for a nice long walk in the early part of the afternoon yesterday.  We got back around 2:30pm and I thought perhaps that might be enough for her, especially as 6:00pm rolled around and then 7:00pm with no dog telling us she wanted to go out for a walk.

And then at 7:38pm, while I was resting comfortably in my recliner, wrapped in my bathrobe and electric blanket and ordering a few last minute Christmas gifts on my laptop, I felt like someone was watching me.

I peeked around the corner of my laptop and there sat Dahlia.  As soon as she saw me notice her, she sat up a little bit straighter and smacked her paw down on my foot.  This is, for those who do not know our dog, her signal that she wants to go for a walk.

"Not this late, Dahlia!" I cried.  "It's dark and snowing like crazy."

Her head cock to the side clearly said "Yes"

She hadn't done some of her...erm..."business" earlier in the day and so I assumed that she needed to go out and do this, so I stood up and told her, in no uncertain terms: "Dahlia, you better not drag me around the neighborhood and not poop.  In fact, if you need to, you better find a spot quick so we can get back out of the snow."

So there were two conditions that she must meet on our walk: (1) She must poop.  (2) She must poop quickly and not insist on a 45 minute walk just to find the exact right spot to leave her "present" (which will immediately get picked up and brought home with us unless she poops on the jackass's lawn who lets his dogs out so they can poop on other people's lawns).

Do you really think I expected her to understand what I said?  Of course not!  But what happened made me shake my head in amazement.

We headed out in our usual direction, took a left at the first block and then she did something unexpected.  Instead of heading down toward the park, she turned to walk around the block.  Just a short walk?  Around the block?  No way.  This never happens.  Not with my dog at least!

And then, even more amazingly, she found a spot right around the corner, did her business, and finished the loop back around to our place.  All told, we were out for 15 minutes.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I swear this dog understands every single word I say.