I have two dogs that are beautiful and loving but have this strange need to go for a walk twice a day. I don’t know why they can’t just cross their legs until April.

Since we live in a condominium we don’t have the convenience of just opening the door and letting them run in a fenced yard; thus, we walk. This is an enjoyable activity for all three of us most of the year but during the cold months one of us would like to opt out. That one would be me!

Don’t get me wrong. I love casual walks around the neighborhood and past the two ponds on our property; but, during our Midwest winters it is COLD. I take all precautions to dress warmly and it takes nearly 30 minutes for me to don my gear and get the dogs ready. First I must choose the proper footwear. On frigid and snowy days I begin with my jeans (if 0 degrees or less the jeans are flannel lined) tucked into heavy wool sox. Then I pull on heavy-duty water-proof boots with the fur trim and YakTrax attached to the bottoms. YakTrax are the greatest invention since the microwave. They are small spring coils wrapped around a rubber grid that slips onto the bottom of the shoe and gives traction on ice and snow. Think of snow chains for your feet.

Now I must put coats on the dogs. They sit patiently at my feet as I put on my boots and know that it is now their turn. Each takes its turn as it sits between my feet and allows me to pull on the coat over its head and fasten it under the belly with the hook and loop strip.

After securing my feet I then pull on the fleece hat with ear flaps and ties under the chin. (Remember when we were kids?) Then I wrap a big scarf around my neck and adjust it so it covers the lower part of my face. Next comes the big coat rated to -15 degrees F with fleece lining and detachable hood. This coat is especially nice because the neck and hood close around my neck and extend past the mouth and just covers the nose. The ski cap and bill of the hood extend downward to my eyebrows leaving a small slit for my eyes. I feel a little like Ironman or a robot but my face is protected from the cold winds we so often get. However, I don’t recommend going into a bank dressed like this.

The three of us then proceed to the garage where they, again, patiently wait to be hooked to the leash and I pull on my quilted ski gloves. The dogs know the routine and are surprisingly tolerant and cooperative during the whole procedure. One last check to make sure I am sufficiently equipped with plastic bags for waste pickup and we are off for our great adventure. An adventure that takes less time than the time spent getting ready.

I won’t win any beauty pageants dressed like this but I’m warm—and that is all that counts on a snowy, windy day.


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