Being Careful What We Wish For……

Right then, you can ignore that previous post where I bleat about the weather and how cold it got.

We’ve been here just over 3 months and are slowly finding our feet and have been getting out training with the dogs. As the previous photo showed, it’s been dry and very un-winterlike. Well, that was until this week.  Wednesday morning we woke up to a light and steady snowfall.  The ground was already covered and it continued to fall, for several hours. By the end of the day, we got 11 inches – I measured.  Not bad for the first snowfall of the season.

Of course,  seeing as we’re only here for the dogs, we just had to go for a run out in all that powder.

Dogs waiting to get harnessed

There was so much fluffy snow on the ground that several of the dogs were already have issues with “snowballs”  collecting between their toes just from running around the yard. So our first snow run was also our first time bootying the team for quite a few years. That was quite the performance – Oak and Quiz have never had boots on, I reckon, so they took a bit of persuading that these things going on their paws were actually worthwhile.  All of the other new dogs are experienced running dogs and bore the indignity of our fumbling with their feet with a calm patience. Mermaid had to be rebooted before we left – she proved quite adept at removing her front booties until we had a quiet chat about unacceptable behaviours. If only she had known, there was every chance that her boots would, in all likelihood, be joining the others that we lost on this run.  I’m going to blame a lack of practice for just how many boots fell off. We actually lost 2 boots before we even left the yard.

The snow had eased off just as we were leaving, and we were the first people to hit the trails. Teague and Fina ran lead and did a fantastic job of both breaking trail and following their turn commands.

Running alongside the Parks Highway
Our dogs running alongside the Parks Highway

About halfway out, I switched Fina out and put Avery up beside Teague for the rest of the run home. Little Avery did an awesome job, plowing her way through the snow that was almost up to her chest. There was one other minor adventure during this run. The photo above shows our team running on the trail which parallels the main road. The plow truck was clearing the road and sending a wall of snow off the plowblade onto the trail. There was nothing we could do but get the dogs as far to the left of the trail as possible and hope that the snow was soft. Which it was – it was a cloud of powder that engulfed us – the dogs did look a little worried as they saw the wall of snow coming but they just turned their shoulders into it and emerged out the other side still pulling.

Heading home
Heading home, Teague and Avery leading.
Back at home
Back at home

After the run, the dogs weren’t that interested in their usual post run drink, preferring to roll around in the snow. We removed the remaining boots and checked feet. We also made our first bootie chain of the season.

Oh yeah, that was the plus side of winter – the slightly less plus side was the plummeting temperatures that arrived the next evening. I know I had mentioned that -5 F was a record low for us, and it had seemed rather cold to us and the dogs.

Well, we’ve now had -25 F, (a frigid -31 C ) and boy, was that cold. Lots of straw, lots of meat and the dogs still looked like they were cold.  They will adapt, but just now, all I can do is feed them well and provide shelter and care.

Drying booties
Drip drying booties
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