The time of warm days and the smell of freshly mowed lawns are over. The vegetable garden has been tilled and now we wait during the long, cold months of winter.
By Dennis L. Page
It was 5:30 A.M. when I was walking my West Highland white terrier in the backyard and I felt a lap of cold air wash across my face and down my jacket into the crevasse of my back. I shivered with the rude awakening of an early winter and yet, “Nanook of the North”, i.e., Dexter stood there, nose pointed to the sky, sniffing and then rolling in the iced crystal leaves, as if to say, “accept it dad….winter is on the way.”
Dexter is my best friend and buddy. I swear he knows what I’m thinking and feeling. He is inside my head and yet I can’t tell what is troubling him, but he astutely knows what troubles me. Dexter is fully aware of my distaste for the upcoming months and it adversely affects him as well. Gone are the leisurely strolls in the back field or the endless hours lounging on the patio or just sitting in front of the glass door happily receiving the radiation heating of a strong sun. Dexter will also miss his joy of endlessly hunting for those ever elusive moles and chipmunks that are always mere inches from his grasp. Yes, the game is over for the season. It’s too hard to catch vermin when there is a foot or more of snow on the ground.
My boy is fully aware how much I loathe being cold. He knows too that the days are shorter and the nights longer. It’s time to curl up on the blanket and take even longer naps then before. One would think we would all feel more rested during these next few months, but alas we only feel more tired and sluggish.
On a positive note, my dear little guy is growing old with me. We are inseparable. Dexter was so tiny when I rescued him at the ripe old age of six months. His big black eyes looked ever so lovingly into mine as I held him on my lap and promised he was going to have the best life he could ever imagine. Ten years later and it is I who has been blessed with him.
So how do we spend the long months of winter? For Dexter it means he gets to eat more pizza (his favorite food). He also loves it when I make batches of seventy-five or more meatballs, knowing all too well there are a few with his name on them. We run like children up and down the hallway, although, I must admit, neither of us are as fast as we used to be. Occasionally I’ll put on a television show with animals so my boy can bark and jump at the picture. Most importantly, we merely feel the warmth of love between a man and his dog.
Winters where I live are long and the snowfall totals are high. By February we are all fairly tired of the monotony of shoveling and snow blowing. Dexter however, will make a path through the deep, pure white snow as if he were a St. Bernard looking to rescue someone buried. This little spit fire of a dog will extend his retractable leash to the limit, sniffing, burying his head in the snow drifts and then he will just lift his big white head into the sky as he breathes in the purity of winter’s air. Meanwhile, as I stand there shivering from head to toe, I will continue my efforts to coax him back into the warmth of our home.
So, as the winter brings in those horrendously cold and snowy northwest winds and below freezing temperatures, Dexter and I will simply have to sit a tad closer or snuggle a little longer. Life is good….even if the weather isn’t always so pleasant. One thing is certain. My little guy never judges me. He doesn’t care if the house was vacuumed, dishes washed or clothes folded and put away. Nor is he scowling at me for gaining a few extra pounds. For you see, when you are lucky enough to have a dog like Dexter, then you will also be fortunate enough to know the true meaning of unconditional love. After all, love makes the world go around and it also melts the coldest of hearts.
I know my heart will be warmed with love during the upcoming winter months and I wish the same for all of you, as well.
Written By: Dennis L. Page