Creature Comforts: Winter is top agenda item for Daverio pets’ meeting
Attendees: Walter (moderator, dachshund, 14), Miriam (dachshund, 13), Kevin (dachshund, 10), Ivy (big, shaggy dog of mixed parentage, 5), Marty (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, 5), Phyllis (chihuahua-dachshund mix, 7 months), Virgil (cat, 16 years)
Walter: My mid-morning nap is fast approaching, so we’d better call this meeting to order. As most of you know, winter has come on like gangbusters this year. I’m not a fan. Phyllis has had lots of questions, and since my opinion may be biased, we should open this discussion up to the group.
Miriam: Winter’s horrible, what’s to discuss?
Kevin: It’s not that bad, usually — I mean, when the snow’s not over our heads.
Ivy: Heh, it doesn’t take much snow to be over YOUR heads. Personally, I love winter. Snow is exciting and fun! I like to stuff my nose deep into fresh snow and inhale deeply — cold and invigorating! It makes all the ordinary smells seem extraordinary.
Walter: Ivy, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention your excellent trail blazing skills. If it weren’t for you and the paths through the deep snow we had in December, we of the shorter set wouldn’t have been able to go outside at ALL. It was scary-deep, this time! Thanks for that.
Ivy: No problem. It’s fun to romp around in the snow, and being tall has it’s advantages, but even I struggled a bit with this last snowfall. For the first few days, I wasn’t even motivated to try to jump the fence — it was a struggle to just do my business out there. Plus, what’s the point in hurdling over the fence if there’s nothing to chase on the other side? No bunnies or squirrels.
Marty: I’m accustomed to a certain level of pampering, and so I’m glad our people cleared away a path for us. It was weird and a little scary walking through those narrow, high-walled alleys, and it took a while to decide where to do my business. I am a delicate flower, as you all know.
Virgil: I lead a cloistered life. I don’t mind — I’ve never had a big desire to roam about. I do enjoy watching you all struggle in the cold from the window, though. It’s hilarious.
Miriam: Grrr. You try being pelted with evil ice chips from the sky. It stings!
Walter: Being short-coated, Miriam and I have zero insulation, unlike you dogs with furry, fluffy coats. It is very unpleasant to be essentially naked and taken out of our warm bed and into the wicked cold. Try concentrating on emptying your bladder with your bare belly buried in the snow. Unpleasant.
Phyllis: So when do we get to me and my questions?
Walter: Right, sorry. Okay, Phyllis, ask away.
Phyllis: Snow is amazing — it’s like the whole outside is a totally different place! Is winter always this cold?
Miriam: Yes, sometimes colder. Winter’s the worst.
Phyllis: Is snow good to eat? Because I ate some, and I feel okay.
Marty: Why would you eat snow? It’s just cold and tastes like nothing.
Kevin: It won’t kill you, but I agree with Marty, why? Unless there’s rabbit poopsicles buried in it, then, okay!
Phyllis: I think snow is super fun when it’s fluffy, but that really deep stuff was a little scary. Is it like this every winter?
Ivy: I wish, but sadly, no. We rarely get anything as deep as that snowfall we had near Christmas. That was a doozy.
Phyllis: Why do my feet tingle so much lately when we’re outside?
Walter: It’s the cold, and I am not a fan.
Miriam: It hurts my feet! I despise the cold.
Phyllis: I heard of doggie booties. They sell them online. Should we order some?
Miriam: NO! NO CLOTHES! Ugh. I’d rather freeze than wear sweaters or, heaven forbid, boots.
Phyllis: My puffer vest is very stylish. It was a Christmas present from the Girl. Love her. Oh! Sometimes my feet go “WHOOP!” on the ground, and I sliiiiiiide and fall down when I’m trying to run. Why’s winter so slippery?
Walter: It’s called ice, and you gotta be extra careful. I don’t walk so well, so the icy ground is especially tough me.
Phyllis: Why’s the grass all brown? It’s crunchy!
Marty: I miss grass. I like to munch on the fresh blades in spring.
Virgil: And then you come in and YACK all over the carpet.
Miriam: Look who’s talking, Virgil. You’re the king of YACK. The grass is there, it’s just sleeping. It’ll be back when spring comes.
Phyllis: Where did the crickets go?
Walter: Interesting. It seems you’ve stumped the panel. More research is needed. Until then, we will stay warm by sharing blankets and body heat. Meeting adjourned.
— Daverio is a veterinarian at Williamsport West Veterinary Hospital. Her column is published every other Sunday in the Lifestyle section. She can be reached at email@example.com.