>> Tuesday, December 22, 2009
We don't take the Basset hounds on very many walks in the winter because they are complete and utter wusses.
To put this in context, I should explain that our last dog was a Bernese Mountain dog and Border Collie mix. Among his many nicknames was "Snow Thing." This is Clancy in his element, playing in a snow fort we built him in the back yard:
We'd let him outside in the snow so he could just sit in a snow bank for an hour or so, watching the world go by and absentmindedly licking the snow every so often. No matter how much coaxing we did, he would only come in when he'd had enough of the snow. Every year the first snow fall would elicit massive happy dances, and he'd frolic through the yard and chase falling snowflakes or try to catch snowballs we'd throw for him.
Not so much with the Basset hounds. They spend the entire winter shivering. After 5 minutes outside, at most, they are barking at the back door to come back in.
To be fair to them, the hounds just don't have the kind of fur coat Clancy had. Every spring it would take us a good 6 hours to bathe Clancy, remove his undercoat, and give him a haircut. His feet were so hairy he had toe sprouts:
Clancy was built for snow. All his built-in cold weather gear was great for us outdoorsy folks - we could just snap on a leash and go.
In contrast, taking the hounds for a walk in winter involves a ridiculous amount of work and preparation. They need their fleece jackets. If it's really cold they need fleece jackets and their heavy denim and fleece overcoats. They also need boots.
I've already mentioned our difficulties finding stump covers for Lucy-fur. On Sunday, we could only find three of the Ruffwear boots for her, so she had one mismatched boot. Slimy had another brand of boots on. Have you ever put boots on a dog? It's hilarious. This is Simon goose stepping while trying to adjust to walking in them:
And this is Lucy bucking like a bronco as she tries to adjust to hers.
Here's how we started off down the trail:
We came back with Simon wearing one boot on his back left foot, and Lucy wearing her stump cover on the right front. Our pockets were stuffed with cast off boots. Some fell off, others we removed because they were bothering the dogs for who knows what reason, and at least one built up ice inside it.
Lucy whined so much about her feet being cold that my husband wound up carrying her the last 3/4 of a mile. You have never met stubborn until you've had a Basset hound. That damn dog is notorious for sitting down in the trail while holding up the cold foot/feet, and refusing to budge another inch further. There's no choice but to carry her if you ever want to get back home. Please remember this is a dog who fearlessly scales Adirondack high peaks on 7+ mile long walks so long as the temperature is above 32 degrees. Add snow, and she sulks.
After our pathetic 2 mile walk on Sunday, they rocketed into the house and collapsed in front of the still warm fire.