A cold walk

There’s cold and then there’s cold. As Canadians, we’re pretty used to winter’s cool touch. But, even for us, there are days when it’s just too cold to do much outside.

You know it’s really cold when the sides of your nose stick together when you breathe in. The moisture inside your nose literally freezes them shut. When it’s that cold, the wind is like claws on your cheeks and forehead. It’s bad when it cuts into your cheeks but it’s even worse when you don’t feel the cold because that means you’re starting to get frostbite. At that temperature, your extremities are always tingling with the cold. Your fingertips and ears are numb and your toes are frozen stiff. The cold starts there but it doesn’t stop there. It moves slowly up your legs into your thighs, then your arms and just keeps gaining territory.

We were feeling all those things last time we took our pooches for a walk. The air was so frigid, snowflakes had frozen into tiny white balls of ice and were sleeting down on us. I had trouble talking because my facial muscles wouldn’t obey me in the cold and Hubby was gritting his teeth against the bite of the wind.

At our sides, our two akitas were bouncing like baby lambs. They were shoving their faces in the snow, climbing hills of the stuff and eating mouthfuls of the stuff. When we finally had to turn back, they were resistant and pulled at the leashes trying to keep us outside. When we walked into our house, huffing and puffing while we started to thaw, our two dogs were scratching at the door…to go back out.

Yeap. Our dogs are nuts.

One akita, two akitas…

It’s absolutely freezing outside. So cold that the snow has become dusty. It doesn’t stick to anything. So cold that when I walk outside, it feels like there’s no air. My lungs suck in and all they get is…a freezing nothing. It’s so cold that when I open the car door, the ominous creak I hear is the plastic bits warning me they’re not doing so well and, any time now, they’re going to snap in two.

In this weather, my hubby and I fear leaving our akita outside for longer than half an hour. I know, I know. She’s designed for winter, she loves the snow and she comes from the snowy mountains of Japan. Call it  projecting or good sense, but we just can’t leave her out for too long in this weather.

Whatever the reason, the unfortunate result is that Ms. Fuzzy Tail is in the house more and, since there’s nothing to do, she’s full of beans.

To get rid of those beans, she chases her turkey doll or her tail, she digs at Groucho the tree, dashes up and down the stairs, she digs into the boots drying by the entrance and begs for cheese. We accept those outbursts of energy that rearrange our furniture and rob Groucho of a few more leaves. We figure she’s doing her best to exercise. She certainly can’t use the elliptical. (I’d have a fit).

Still, there’s a limit.

Yesterday, at around 11pm, Ocean decided to jump on my bed because she thought I’d love to just go from deep sleep to fully awake in under a second. I woke in sheer terror until I saw her confused, brown eyes. Why was I upset? Didn’t I see that she was bored?

After I decided that a heart attack wasn’t imminent, I gave her some kisses while explaining to her firmly that there was to be no more jumping on any bed. She licked me and completely ignored everything I said or did except for the petting. Sigh. Why doesn’t she jump on my husband?, I thought.

I posed the question to my lovely man and he thought it through with that therapist head of his. “She needs a brother,” he replied with a whimsical smile.

Oh poop.

Brr….it’s cold

The weather said it would be cold. Well, they weren’t kidding. It’s -13 C if you’re not in the wind and -27C if you are. Cold enough for even the hardiest Canadians.

It's one of those super clear, crisp days.

It’s one of those super clear, crisp days.

It’s cold out. It’s cold enough, when you breathe in, your nose sticks shut. Instead of just steaming out, your breath forms a cloud that immediately dissolves. The cold hits you and soaks into your clothes, skin and face immediately giving you a headache. I don’t know if these pictures give it justice…but trust me, you wouldn’t want to go skinny dipping in our river today…if it’s not frozen solid.

IMG_0252

 

 

 

 

The snow doesn’t just crunch. It’s frozen as well into tiny granules that fly away. It won’t even stick to itself. Not a good day to make a snowman.

Poor little birds are fluffing out their feathers trying to keep the warm air in.

Poor little birds are fluffing out their feathers trying to keep the warm air in.

 

 

The birds are eating like crazy. In this cold, they burn a lot more energy than normal and they’re mowing through our feed.

Fluffy Tail herself looking wistfully out the window.

Fluffy Tail herself looking wistfully out the window.

Ocean was set and determined to go outside today and I let her…for a little bit. I know akitas are designed for the cold, I know you can leave them out for the entire winter…I just worry. Plus, I like her with me. She’s got a busy schedule indoors keeping up with the birds and watching me write this post.

Ocean’s Christmas

It’s a winter wonderland out here.

IMG_0224We have trees and snow and more trees and…well, more snow. It’s Ocean’s favourite mix.

She doesn’t know it’s Christmas but she sure likes the toys she magically got and the snow everywhere in sight.

IMG_0220The only catch is that its minus 20. At that temperature, my face starts to freeze after a couple of minutes–and I haven’t even mentioned the windchill factor!

So, we’re staying indoors and so is Ocean. She doesn’t mind that much. Especially with her new toys.

IMG_0226

Please note that turkey. We thought it was particularly fitting during the holidays. Ocean thought so too, after she chewed it half to death.

IMG_0227

And there’s the lady of the hour, with her new favourite toy, a small ball she chases around the house, down the stairs and under beds…I know, she’s sadly neglected.

Get some fresh snow, add a young akita and you’ve got…the crazies

Apparently, kids aren’t the only ones who love fresh snow. Akitas seem to love the stuff. Just a little. We, being new akita parents, didn’t know just how deep that connection to the white stuff went. We found out today though.

We let Ocean out just after it had started snowing with the intention of letting her in before we left. At least, that was the plan. When the time came, I opened the door, called her and…no dog. I called again and…no dog. I cursed (I didn’t have my coat on) and I shuffled outside in my slippers to try and find my missing pet. Immediately, two things became crystal clear. One, my slippers absorb snow, they don’t repel it. Two, Ocean wasn’t coming in not because she was dead or kidnapped by aliens as I feared but because she was having the time of her life and she didn’t want to come inside.

I spotted the full-ball. She was running full kilt from one end of our enclosed area to the other, digging in the mounds of snow, ‘finding’ lost toys under the flakes and discovering new smells here and there. Her usually black nose was white with snow and she barely stayed still. I literally saw her jump into the air before galloping to one corner only to run after a fat snowflake into the complete opposite corner. That white tail of hers was waving in delight and she wouldn’t come near me in fear I’d drag her inside.

We gave her another half hour and then tried to get her inside. When she refused, we accepted reality and went shopping. We got home two hours later, with groceries and, after dumping them unceremoniously in the kitchen, I ran outside to check on my baby.

Ocean was still running around, still chasing snowflakes with her tail still waving in delight. I think she had lost a little of her energy but I might be wrong. It still took a couple of calls to get her inside…and a wee bit of cheese.

I was still a little concerned and checked her over from head to toe inspecting her carefully for any booboos. She inhaled her supper with incredible speed and, after a few kisses, stretched out on her cushion. She was out like a light.

Two hours later and she still hadn’t moved from her cushion. The intensity of her sleep (probably aided by my overdeveloped imagination) worried me a little. Was she alright? Had something happened to her? Should I call the vet? My husband took a look at the sleeping dog, called me a worry wart and sent me to bed.

The next morning she was up earlier than usual, dancing in excitement, asking to be let out. It was a cold morning, minus 12, and windy and the snow had frozen. I shivered and huddled protectively behind the door. She dashed by me, mad with joy.

Winter is a dog’s wonderland.

(credit:www.kimballstock.com)

(credit:www.kimballstock.com)