Every morning, I wake up at 6:45 a.m. and put on:
- A pair of wool socks
- And then another
- Long johns
- Sweat pants
- A tank top
- A t-shirt
- A hoodie
- A down parka
- Sorel boots
- A long scarf
- Some woollen mittens
- And a toque
before filling my pockets with lavender-scented poop bags and kibble. Then I spend a solid 10 minutes trying to clip a leash on my very excited dog before michelin-manning it out the back door.
Every time that blast of cold hits my face, I think: “I’m a good dog owner, I’m a good owner, I’m a good dog owner” while gritting my teeth and dreaming about the fence we’re going to get as soon as the ground thaws. By about the tenth minute, we’ve reached a local trail and Odie is prancing about like a king. I can’t feel my nose.
The walk home – about half an hour later – is usually a bit more eventful. Cars pulling out of driveways, kids walking to school, and retirees taking out their garbage in their pyjamas. Odie, whose universe used to be limited to a backyard, greets them all by jumping on them.
But last week he suddenly started barking. I was puzzled until I saw the stout elderly lady who had slipped and fallen. She’d been on the ground in her nightgown for nearly half an hour in -35 degree weather. Her nose was bleeding, but she didn’t want a doctor. She asked for help getting up and into the warmth of her home.
I tied Odie to a post, put one of my billion layers over her legs, ran to get JF, and we helped her inside. After about ten minutes of hand-wringing over the possibility that she was concussed, I called the paramedics after all. Before leaving for work, I made sure they found her house.
On our after-work walk, Odie and I dropped in for a visit. Jean was fine, but her nose hurt like the dickens.
Morals of the story? Dog walking is a great way to meet people. Also, visit your older neighbours regularly. Also, spring will be awesome.