I wrote this reflection the first winter Charlie, my rescue dachshund, lived with me (2012). He moved in with me that July, and we were still getting to know each other. He was not quite four years old, and he had never been house trained.
I hadn’t yet discovered indoor pee pads. At the time, I didn’t have a doggie door, just a cat door, and it was too small for him to use. (That egregious oversight was soon remedied.) haha
A dachshund as an exercise workout
No one needs to purposely exercise in the winter when they have a wiener dog who needs to go outside on a below zero day with eight inches of snow on the ground. Let me tell you my story…
I bundled-up my rescue dachshund, Charlie, in his cute little winter coat, and carried him outside, because he refuses to go out on his own if the temperature is below 90° F. I tried all the usual places for him to ‘do his business’, hoping he’d find one of them appealing. No luck. So, out into the neighborhood we ventured (not an unusual occurrence) with stops every ½ block or so to check for just the right spot.
My snow boots are awkward and make me walk like a duck with snowshoes on, and my long heavy coat is fuzzy on the outside so when Charlie’s feet are too cold for him to continue walking (which is about every two feet), I hold him so his feet are in the fuzziness so he can get warmed up. Of course, the streets are icy and snow packed, but I only lost my footing twice. The first time I went down in a gracefully soft slow motion way in a snowdrift that cushioned my fall. No one saw it.
The second time, I lost it completely, sending Charlie nose diving into the snow, and me flat on my back in a snowdrift like a turtle turned upside down. A guy driving toward us witnessed the crash, and he stopped to see if I was okay. We weren’t hurt. But it kicked into high gear my Charlie-must-pee-before-I-give-in mission.
By the time this outdoor adventure was over, I’d done deep knee bends, toe touches, and leg stretches to brush snow away from potential pee spots just so he could give me the old stink eye while standing and shivering on dry ground from which I’d gone to all the work to clear off the snow…just for him. Plus, Charlie weighs 15 pounds, so carrying that little tub of lard added to my aerobic workout. My heart rate was up. I was sweating. And I was on the verge of frostbite on my nose and cheeks but, by golly, I won the battle. He finally peed…35 minutes later and two pit stops back to the house to warm up.
Darn good thing I’m retired.
Darn good thing I love him to pieces.
And I get to do this repeatedly…all winter long…and next winter…
(This story also appeared on the Prairie Rose Publications’ blog on January 13, 2021.)
Until next time,
Look for Kaye here: