Incongruities

Teisha’s First Snowfall Nov. 1981

27 years ago my first dog — my muse and inspiration still lo though she has been at The Rainbow Bridge nearly as long as she was alive! — experienced her very first snow which I recorded with my trusty non digital camera. Granted it was just a dusting, but even then, long before I focused my professional attention on those pillars of training — distance, distraction & duration and structure, management and training — I was aware as a “dog mom” how exciting experiencing firsts with her was for me. Teisha was a 5 month old pup at that first snow; she was helping me get through my junior year at The University of Michigan after I had been gone traveling and working overseas for a bit. Ann Arbor was a great place to have a dog — the arboretum had acres and acres of woods and fields to carouse in, and having a cute well behaved dog in a university town led to lots of connections I might never have made, not to mention helping give balance to the rigors of academia.

Today on my morning walk with the dogs we had what I would call our first real snow of the season. I hadn’t expected it to be quite so cold and windy and snowy, but more interesting than become increasingly aware of how cold my toes were getting was observing how very distracted the dogs were. Normally I explain that our morning walks are meant for an aerobic workout..okay, a fast paced walk…not for sniffing and savoring lots of smells (we have those walks too!) but this morning all 3 dogs were nearly besotted by the various smells generated by this rush of seasonal change. My “only having had one cup of coffee so far and I really want 2 more cups” mood nearly went into grump mode, but I found myself stopping that trajectory and instead taking note of how a day of change — in this it was a seasonal one — it could just as easily have been a change like the day a newborn baby comes home from the hospital or a new pet is added to the menagerie or a new major piece of furniture arrives or some other novel change — can generate so much excitement for the canine brain.

I thanked the dogs for reminding me of paying more attention to the little things by slowing down and letting them savor all the sniffs they cared to explore. It made the rest of the day a stellar Monday.