Monday, December 27, 2010

When the Dog tells you It's Too Cold

39 Degrees is cold in anybody's book.   Or rather it should be.  If you paid attention in Science Class, you will remember that 39 Degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature that water is the densest.  If it gets warmer, it expands.  If it gets colder it expands then freezes. 

It was colder outside today than it was in my refrigerator.

It was so cold that the dog told me so.

We have lived here for more than four years.  Mrs Dog knows the neighborhood well and we have a route that we walk three times a day most days.  It gives her the mental stimulation she needs to be... well not mental.  Border Collies need that or else they chew up the house, bark incessantly, or just generally become a nuisance.  She enjoys walking past the bars and being told that she's beautiful because she is.  She enjoys hearing about this person's dog up in Ohio that they miss because they had to leave it with the maiden aunt down the road.

I could walk the route behind her without a leash and she wouldn't mind.  I wouldn't do that because she's losing her hearing and becoming selectively deaf but that's beside the point.  The point is that she knows this particular part of Florida very well.  There's a point in the walk she will tug to tell me that she wants to go for the Long Walk and I'm trying to turn because it's 6:30 in the morning and I haven't had breakfast and want to go home.

You see, that is the point.  She likes to be out.  This seems to have changed with the cold snap that we've finally gotten.  South Florida was warned to duck and cover and this would be a cold one.  There were Hard Freeze Warnings for every single county in Florida the other day.  That includes Mainland Monroe county - which also contains the Keys.  They were excluded, but the mainland wasn't. 

I don't know if it really did get to freeze in Mainland Monroe County, but our thin blood thought so. 

Once we were out in our Winter Survival Gear, we realized that the 30 degrees of Cold Tolerance that we lost since moving here was evident.   Add to the 39 Degree "chill" a 12 MPH constant wind and gusts that took things above 20 MPH and you get the picture.  I was walking and talking to Lettie and telling her that she was better suited to the weather than I am because she had a fur coat but there are parts that had to be freezing and exposed.

That was when I was surprised by her insight.  I got to the end of the shopping center near the house and she turned behind it and headed home.  Directly.  This dog who loves a long walk more than anything else it seems, had had enough of her "lady parts" being frozen off and turned home.   I hadn't realized until then that she was slowing down rapidly and it all became evident.  This is the same dog who in a 7 Degree Above Zero Blizzard in Philadelphia would walk behind me in my lee in order to stay out of the wind.  She's not a "Dumb Animal" at all.

The minute that Mrs Dog got home, she curled up on the mat as tight as she could and conserved as much warmth as possible.  

So when your dog tells you that it is too cold outside there really is only one thing you can do.  Listen!

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