Winter woofs, first snow and ice.

In the last week of 2020 and first of 2021 we actually had a fair bit of snow and proper freezing weather. This is something we’re not too used to being almost at sea level. Having celebrated our first Christmas with both the spaniels – including with their very own dog compatible dinner – we were looking forward to seeing how they reacted to the ground being properly frozen. For us more importantly it was actually dry as a result of the mini freeze raising the prospect of post-walk dogs, car and house not smelling of wet, boggy doggos. 

Whilst the ice didn’t bother Chewy at all, Willow was completely confused by it. If she stopped to sniff then there was a chance that the relatively thin ice on one of the puddles underfoot would crack, This would result in a freezing cold paw and miffed cocker. Equally problematic was that charging over the slippy ground with abandon would lead to mistakes being made in the cornering or braking department. Either way she was unimpressed. In spite of the apparent permafrost she did still manage to find the few areas where there was still a decent depth of mud and bog to frolic in. One thing she is expert at is getting thoroughly drenched and then becoming cold extremely quickly. There’s been many a time we’ve driven home in a baking hot car or turned the heating on at home in response to a small shivering bedraggled spaniel. As the temperature dropped she demonstrated expertly just how mucky and sodden a small spaniel can become in a relatively short time. A more cynical doggo parent might suggest the squeaking and shaking was purely to distract from the evil smelling bog monster on the back seat.

When the snow began to arrive however she quicky joined her brother in completely loosing the plot. The white stuff clearly felt better on her paws than the frozen ground. It was obvious from the way they both hared around, sticking their snouts into it that there were a plethora of new and exciting scents which were much more fun to pursue than bog snorkelling. It also tasted pretty awesome as well judging by the amount that seemed to get consumed mid-beanie. 

With dogs that haven’t had the best start in life you very often don’t know the day they were born. As a result instead of their fluffy friends’ birthdays, many “rescue” dog parents celebrate the date when you they first moved in with you. This has become colloquially known as a “gotcha day”. On the 4th of January Chewy celebrated his first gotcha day with us. They had a special dog dinner that day – a vet approved one of steamed salmon, broccoli and potato – and we decided to combine Chewy’s big day with his dad’s by booking a local dog friendly field for all of of us, furry and non furry.

There’s more and more of these popping up all over the country. They provide a safe, secure environment free of distractions which are brilliant for nervous or aggressive dogs, training sessions or just for the fun of it. Our little pack love heading out with us to our favourite local one. Especially as there is a large, muddy pond perfect for swimming or blowing bubbles sat in the middle.

The way we celebrated this really hit home the difference in Chewy in the year since he arrived. We’ve talked before about how he’s stocky, fit, confident and become a proper galumphing idiot. Just like a sprocker should! If anything he’s sometimes too confident now – getting completely carried away with smells and the joy of being outside.

He has, thankfully, developed a some degree of common sense. This includes knowing that he can get back through the same hole in the fence that he went through. This might not sound like a big deal but as regular followers of Chewy’s antics will recall hoofing 20 kilos of wriggling spaniel over a barbed wire fence isn’t exactly a hazard free pastime. Especially when Chewy’s definition of a “hole” included a 2 foot wide signed footpath break.

We love the photo of him above for two reasons. The first is that he’s “doing a zoom” – and what’s more its over half way through the walk! If you’d met him a year ago zooming especially any significant time into a walk wouldn’t have seemed possible. The second is that he’s “zooming” through that hole in the fence that became his and his dad’s nemesis for so long. No more limping back to the car (for dad). 

Its wonderful that he can finally keep up with his sister who will have been with us for a year this March. Given that she’s 2 and he’s 8 (‘ish) and with is background we’re pretty impressed. His long legs give him the advantage in a straight sprint while Willow has the stamina to occasionally leave him behind. They’re a brilliant mix of characters that complement each other so well despite their age and size difference. 

Watching their happy bums disappearing into the distance together is always a joy.

February 2021, Mark, Cat, Willow & Chewy.

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