Born in Wisconsin, raised in Illinois, I’m no stranger to cold and snow but this winter has been hard even on the most seasoned Eskimo. For dog owners, salt, snow and cold can quickly become a deadly combination. Here in Milwaukee, we hit an all-time low, literally, with a wind chill temperature of 30 below. My amazing two dogs are so well behaved/trained that there was no going inside… we still had to take our poop and pee outdoors.
I quickly developed a system. It started with a lot of layers for me and the dogs. I went out and bought Mister a kick-butt, rad blue puffy coat with a hood. He hates it. Missy’s winter coat still held up. I tried to take them out together but that wasn't working. I think for the first time in his life Mister didn’t pee. I’m confident if Mister were to list his three favorite activities peeing would be on that list. It’s like a bad joke: How cold is it? So cold Mister won’t pee. So we had to revise the system. I decided to take them out one at a time. I bundled up Mister, carried him to a snow pile, put him down, let him do his business, and then carried him back home. Then with Missy, a very similar system except she would walk herself to the snow pile, do her business, and then I would carrier her back home. And Missy HATES to be carried. Again, how cold is it? So cold Missy wouldn't walk. I think it took us longer to get ready to go then it did to actually go.
Trip, after trip, in the cold, over two days made me realize something. Through the tears running down my face from the cold and working on breathing into my scarf so my nostrils wouldn’t freeze while carrying a shivering dog, I laughed. I would look at these two helpless creatures and just think “no one else would I do this for.” I thought “this is true love”. The kind of love a parent has for their child. It’s deathly cold out. I have no reason to be outside. I could think of a million places I rather be at but there I was, making the rounds with a smile on my face and a laugh in my head. My mom instincts just took over and I just stuck to my “let’s go, let’s do this attitude.” It wasn’t even a choice. As much as we all hate the cold the good news is it helped me to re-discover love on a very cold winter’s night.