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Alaska Dog Days

Nellie is a real Alaska dog now. With temperatures in the minus 30 range, she toughed it out with us to make the most of arctic snow days.

Alaska dog Nellie going outside

Just when you think you know what cold is, Alaska is ready to show you otherwise. It’s been a real learning curve as we try to figure out how to give Nellie what she needs for enrichment, activity, and safety.

Alaska Dog Days Showed us What “Cold” is All About

During the last two weeks, temperatures here reached close to minus 40 Fahrenheit at the coldest, and minus 10 at the warmest part of the day.

Some days Nellie has more energy than others.
On some sub-zero days Nellie has more energy than others.

It was a good lesson to explore our tolerance for cold as a pack. We learned what Nellie’s limits are, and how much she is or is not willing to go outside to explore or just sniff around.

Nellie decides she wants to romp!
Nellie decides she wants to romp!

Over the last few weeks we’ve discovered just how much Ruffwear gear is helpful for weather like this.

See when winter began, we made up a rule that when the temperature drops below zero, Nellie doesn’t go outside without her Ruffwear Powder Hound jacket. We thought that was plenty of warmth, and it probably was. But when it got even colder than minus 20, we made up a new rule for our own peace of mind. We put her Climate Changer sweater on underneath it.

Then on the really cold days (lower than minus 20), we discovered something else about how Nellie handles extreme cold. She holds her paws up one at a time when she tries to walk on snow. Ouch! Thank dog for Ruffwear Polar Trex boots! No, they don’t keep her from sliding on super icy terrain. But they really protect her feet, and prevent snow from piling up inside the boots.

With all of her gear, she was comfortable enough, but none of us had so much fun we wanted to stay outside very long. Not even the toughest Alaska dogs are thrilled about cold like this.

What do you do when it’s too cold outside?

So when it was too miserable to do anything like walk more than 10 minutes, we spent some time with Nellie’s paint brushes.

Nellie dog painting on a canvas
Nellie’s doing a lot of painting in Alaska!

She made two paintings that we donated to a local auction. One sold for $50! The other one did too. Our neighbor bought it, and we still don’t know how much she paid for it!

paintings by Nellie the 3.5 legged dog
This is what you do when it’s too cold outside!

This week temperatures got “warm” again, back up into the low 20s.

I never thought I would believe that this is “warmer” weather. It’s preactically summer in these parts! But what a relief to get outside again, and spend more than a few minutes soaking up our vitamin D. Nellie appreciates the additional sunshine as much as we do.

Nellie in her Burley dog stroller and ski kit
Nellie and Jim on the lake

And now that we are back to eight-plus hours of daylight, we have even more reason to get outside and see the sights. That’s Jim and Nellie behind our cabin, checking out Denali way out in the distance.

Things could be worse, for sure. We are so grateful that our Alaska dog is having as much fun as we are on warmer days like this one. Let’s hope there’s lots more ahead before the “breakup” happens and all the snow turns to mud.

2 thoughts on “Alaska Dog Days”

  1. Awww Nellie, your artistic ability is such a talent👍 Good way to stay warm too!

    BRRRR….cannot imagine being out in that kind of cold😱 Glad you have such good attire for Alaska weather. To see the sun out again can at least give upu the illusion of warmth.
    Really enjoyed reading this post and seeing the pictures…..while sitting in my warm home with temperature oitside around 40 degrees. 😉
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

  2. Having a view of Denali out your “back yard” pretty darn impressive!
    Nellie is probably more impressed with seeing and feeling sunlight…..or at least “daylight”.
    Her “Northern Lights” painting is beautiful! $50 was a steal for that one of a kind exquisite art work😎
    All of the gear you’ve lined up for Nellie’s Alaska outdoor adventures seems to be quite effective in keeping her comfortable (for ten minutes anyway).
    Always love seeing pictures of Nellie♥️
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

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