A Twist in the Tale: Winter Chat with the Neighbor Dogs


By Jenny Kalahar

Winter can feel endless even to humans, but when you’re a dog and you have to go outside in the cold and the snow and ice a few times every day, the season can feel like it lasts an eternity.

I interviewed a few neighborhood dogs to get their take on life mid-winter. First up: Zoe, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who is my dog Weegee’s best pal.

JK: Still walking the same five-block walk each day at three-thirty, I see.

Zoe: Yes, yes. John is a former Marine. Even after he broke his leg and had to use crutches for weeks he still walked me every day! It was hard to be a very good girl during those walks, but I knew how hard it was for him to keep upright. Now that he’s recovered I find it hard to make excuses to be lazy inside the warm house when he gets his coat on, gives me a happy whistle and says, “let’s go.”

JK: Weegee says “hi,” by the way. We’ll come down your alley later, and then you two can wag tails sniff each other.

Zoe: (Shakes her head) I’ll be in the house. I’ve got a new memory foam lounger in the TV room, and I’m a little bit in love with how plush it is under my tushie.

JK: Well, I suppose until the grass grows out again you can make do with that bed.

Zoe: (Grinning) You know what? “Tushie” is a funny word.

JK: Yes. Okay, well, I should probably let you and John get on your way. Keep warm!

JK: Hiya, Blackie!

B: (Scowls)

JK: It’s the snow, right?

B: (Nods once, still scowling)

JK: Well, I was going to ask you how you’re feeling about winter at this point, but I think I have my answer. Okay. I’ll let you get back inside. Nice chatting with you, though, Blackie.

JK: Hey, Skippy! How’s life in the back yard?

S: Fantastic! Oh, boy! Snow! Oh, boy!

JK: Um, really?

S: Oh, you bet! Lookit how fluffy it is today. Yippee!

JK: So, you’re fine with winter dragging on and on for months. With your toes all cold and your ears freezing and with all of the good sniffs under the ice where they have no good sniff anymore?

S: Well, when you put it that way. (Thinks, then smiles brightly) Yep. Pretty much! I got a doggie door. I can go in and get warm every thirty seconds if I want to. Which, you know, I kinda do.

JK: Oh. I guess that is a sweet setup at that. Weegee and I will see you later, Skip.

S: Oh, boy!

JK: How’s it going, Dursley?

D: Humph.

JK: Have you chased any good squirrels today?

D: (Looks away) Not since … the incident.

JK: I’m sure that squirrel wasn’t laughing at you, Dursley. And I’m sure he wasn’t really aiming those nuts at your giant head.

D: Dang squirrels.

JK: Anyway, the reason I came over to your porch is to ask you about winter. Do you like winter weather and snow and stuff, or are you pretty sick of it now?

D: (Sighs) All the same to me. All the same, sun or rain, snow or hot. Every single day is the same when I can’t get no respect from the squirrels.

JK: Well, that is a super sad way to live. I’m so sorry. Keep warm now, okay? Stay in your enclosure when your people aren’t home. That’s a good boy.

D: Yep. Yep. At least I can’t get pelted by walnuts in there.

JK: Don’t let them bug you, Dursley.

D: All the same to me.

JK: Bye, now. Chin up.

D: (Stands up, stares into the trees above, sighs again and then ducks into his cozy dog house) Bye. Tell Weegee dog to watch out for them squirrels.

I could have gone on to visit more of the neighborhood dogs for more input on the winter, but I got too cold. The snow, ice and low temps were getting to me, and now all I can think about is spring. Keep your pets indoors and … you know … watch our for nut-throwing squirrels.

Jenny Kalahar, her husband Patrick, and their pets live in Indiana where she sells used and rare books and writes novels and poetry. Her two novels about fostering cats are Shelve Under C: A Tale of Used Books and Cats, and The Find of a Lifetime: Another Tale of Used Books and Cats. Her collection of nostalgic and humorous poetry is One Mile North of Normal and Other Poems. For more, visit her blog, Bookselling and Writing with Weegee.

More from Jenny:

I’ve Tamed the Wild All

Nontraditional Pets

Santa’s Sauna

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