It was zero degrees today, and I guess that means winter is here in Alaska. As it gets colder, I feel more guilt knowing that we hauled Nellie up here to a place that might as well be on another planet. Remember, this is a doggie from California who has never known anything but mild weather.
Nellie had no clue what lay ahead when we arrived in August. And if I have to admit, we were pretty clueless too (and still are!).
But we also know how much she loves the freedom up here. There’s lots more off-leash wandering, and crazy smells she’s never enjoyed before.
Like anything, there’s a price to pay for all this adventure. And right now, it’s the temperatures. Nellie has made it clear that she isn’t a fan of extreme cold or the dark days of winter.
Every morning it takes at least 15 minutes to get us, and her, dressed to go outside. Layer after layer we cover up, and then put on a headlamp because now it’s dark until about 9:30 am, and (then returns about 3:30 pm).
Finally, we make it outside to take her out to potty, and almost every time our walk lasts about 10 minutes at most. Without fail, she wants to come back inside as soon as she’s done.
Still, on other days, she has a blast. Especially when she visits the local teams of sled dogs. At the advice of our expert mushing friends, we are trying to let her coat acclimate. The colder it gets, they tell us, the more her coat will thicken and keep her warm. As a double-coated dog, we are supposed to be doing her a favor by letting her go outside naked!
But I can’t do it, at least all the time. So as a compromise, she only wears her Ruffwear Climate Changer fleece sweater when temps dip to about 10-degrees. And when it drops down to sub-zero, she wears her Ruffwear Powder Hound puffer jacket. Our musher friends say that’s totally fine.
We suspect that osteoarthritis could be why she isn’t a fan of cold. So we found a great vet nearby and started her on Librela, the prescription monoclonal antibody therapy for OA that just made it to the US. She is also taking a new, interesting joint supplement called Jope. We’ll fill you in on both very soon.
Another crazy thing we’ve learned is how to walk her on ice. WOW that has been an eye opener. I’ll save that for another post, because we have learned a LOT about ice and dog booties. Anyone with a Tripawd, or other special needs or senior dog who lives in icy conditions during winter has my deepest respect and admiration!