Straw Dogs

11 October 2011           5.00 PM      40 F     Blue skies and sunny

You can always tell when the temperature starts dropping. You don’t need any of those new fangled digital thermometers or even an old fashioned pointy arrow aimed at the blue numbers. All you need to do is look outside and if the white frosty coating on top of the dog houses wasn’t clue enough, the simple fact that most of the dogs are actually sleeping inside them should be all the confirmation you need.

During the spring, summer, most of the autumn and strangely enough, large parts of the winter, the vast majority of our dogs like to laze about in the fresh air, the sunshine, the snow and even, for some of them, in the rain. We do have a couple who tend to sleep in their house no matter how hot it gets but for most, until this last week or so, the general rule has been – sleep outside.

Not so for the last few nights, it has started cooling down quite dramatically and we saw a low last night of 13 F, that’s a pretty fresh -11C. Seems cool enough for mid October. So, this morning, before going outside, I peeked out at the dog yard, to see how many hardy souls we had.  Not many, it has to be said. Trouve, who hardly ever goes in his house, even in the heaviest of downpours. Fionn, well, that dog is a few sandwiches short of a picnic, so the fact he was still sleeping outside is no proof of anything.  Cuchi was curled up in one of the many holes she has dug around her house and I’m pretty sure Echo was outside too. And that was about it. At the other end of the spectrum,  a few of our house dogs decided it was so cold they perhaps didn’t really need to go outside for a bathroom break after all. Not Ciobair, of course, because she seems completely impervious to the cold, no matter how low it gets.

With all of this information, the conclusion seemed to be obvious. Today is that most exciting of days for the dogs – it’s Straw Day. The simplest of things –  us appearing in the yard pulling along a bale of straw is the signal for an outbreak of unconfined joy. The dogs love to help us pack the straw into their house. Although their definition of “help” is perhaps open to interpretation. After a bit of chaos and confusion, every house had a nice, new, clean, fresh smelling straw layer for the occupant to snuggle into. Even Trouve, that perennial outdoor dog, decided that maybe he could have a snooze under a roof, just for a change.

Our dog, Trouve, watching me take photosTrouve waits for his fresh straw.

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