Tag Archives: Dogs

Snapshot into a Life with Multiple Dogs

Kitchen Doors
The doors that safeguard our kitchen.

Living with multiple dogs requires a certain way of life that many are not suited for. I appear to thrive on it. I certainly find the sacrifices that are necessary to be well worth it.

For instance, we have doors on our kitchen. My husband made these doors for us so our lives would be a little bit easier. And I am grateful every day.

We cannot leave food out on the countertop or on the stove without it being in danger of being taken by a few of our dogs. The cats are not totally innocent in this either. They have been known to knock loaves of bread on the floor for the dogs to eat. And the cats like to lick some of the things they find there. Butter is a favorite. And I don’t know about you but I don’t care to eat butter that has been licked by a cat. Or by a human either for that matter, but we don’t have that problem.

So, whenever there is a cake or pie, or any food, cooling in the kitchen, or the remains of dinner is still on the stove while we are eating, the doors are closed. You may have noticed the elastic bungee cord on the left hand door panel. This is because our animals will nudge the doors open if they are not bungeed shut. Our animals have us well trained.

If there is food out and you leave the kitchen even for a few seconds, you must close these doors. I walked from the kitchen to the hall pantry and back, which took me less than 30 seconds one day. Zekie, my no mistake dog, made me pay. The Day of the Bread Thief. Where once there were three baguettes rising, there were suddenly only two. The link above tells the excitement of that day.

You may also notice the bare board covering the baseboard to the left of the doors. That covers the remnants of the day/s Zekie had separation anxiety episodes before we had the super tough Impact Dog Crate for him. Story told here Salvation. In those days he eventually escaped every crate we put him in.

On one of the shelves you can see our apothecary jar full of dog biscuits. These are a necessity. Any of our dogs will immediately incarcerate themselves in a crate for half a Milk Bone! Don’t feel sorry for them. Several of our dogs will go in their crates by choice to have some time to themselves. The crate door is open, but no one can sneak up on them without their knowledge.

The calendar on the wall holds not only family birthdays and appointments, but the dates the dogs were given their heartworm prevention medicine and any flea or tick treatments. It also serves as a record of wormings, antibiotics, and other noteworthy things.

This simple picture provides such a snapshot into our daily lives. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Meet Our Pack!

Dog napping in a sunbeam
Baxter napping in a sunbeam.

 

This post features each of our animals here at Sanctuary Acres. We currently have six dogs and two cats. They were all feeling sleepy earlier this week when the weather was cold. I took the opportunity to capture their restful moods in these photographs.

Baxter is 12 years old now. He was a drop off that someone left when he was a young pup of about three months. He has spent his entire life here. This is notable because we don’t often get many of our dogs as puppies. He grew up to be a wonderful dog with amazing frisbee skills. He is also very obedient and an easy dog to have around. He has taught the ropes to many a foster dog. His calm nature teaches them that it will be ok.

Napping sheltie
Shelby having a rest.

 

Shelby just turned 11 years old. She came here as a foster dog through Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue (NEOSSR). She arrived when she was 18 months old. The folks who dropped her off said she was hyper and too much dog. Shelby is anything but hyper. She just happened to be in her teenage years when her previous owners left her here. She has grown into an obedient, serious, hard working girl. She is a certified therapy dog who I can count on for nursing home visits, walks with kids, staffing public events, and assisting with training or testing future therapy dogs. She is my right hand “man” and working partner.

Shetland Sheepdog napping
Claire chilling out.

Claire is 6 years old. She is our newest addition, joining our pack in January of 2020 as a foster dog. She became a permanent member in July when I realized that I was too attached for her to leave. She is a bit of an airhead and not as serious or intense as our other dogs. She is, however, a clown and keeps us laughing and wondering what she will come up with next. She is also eternally happy. She makes us smile every day.

Napping dog
Zekie taking it easy.

Zekie came to us as a foster sheltie. He is not very sheltie-like in looks or temperament. He is a sweet and loving boy. Due to his extreme separation anxiety and leash reactivity, we decided that he was not adoptable (except by crazy people-us!), so he became a member of our pack in 2016. He is fairly obedient, but you have to keep him busy all the time. His mind doesn’t stop and he can come up with lots of things to get into. This dog has an amazing, and sometimes frightening, command of the English language. One day he was running from the pasture to the house with the frisbee and dropped it half way there. I told him to pick that up and take it back to the pasture before he went in the house. He did. That’s just one example of the things he understands.

Greyhound resting
Cassius resting.

Cassius is our retired racing greyhound. We adopted him from Greyhound Adoption of Ohio. He is our fourth greyhound. He is the opposite of the shelties. Large, lazy and laid back, with little grooming required. He adds a nice balance to our crew. Oh, and did I mention, he’s a momma’s boy. He loves nothing better than to lean against me when I am trying to cook, or to lay up against me on the couch with his head in my lap. He’s a 70+ pound love bug. He loves riding in the car nearly as much as he loves me.

Sheltie in front of the fireplace
Nikki in front of the fireplace.

Nikki turned 13 last fall. Not only is she our oldest dog, she is also our smallest weighing in at 20 lbs. Don’t let her small size fool you. She is a tough little thing with a big bark. She came to us when her owner became ill and was no longer able to care for her. Nikki was four years old then, so she has been here a long time. She was very good at her commands-sit, down, and stay. She can’t hear them any more, but if I work her in tandem with Shelby, Nikki will follow her lead and perform the commands. She is a favorite at the nursing home because she has that cuteness factor down pat.

Orange cat
Orange Kitty.

Orange Kitty will turn five this year. He has been with us since he was just under a year old. He is a very sweet cat. Our other animals are fortunate that Orange Kitty is mild mannered. Thank goodness, because he is also VERY large. We put him on a diet and he is now slimmed down but still weighs 17 lbs. He has the loudest purr I have ever heard. You can hear him from other rooms of the house.

Black and white cat napping
Morty having a cat nap.

Morty will be 10 this year. I still think of him as a kitten because he is tiny. He only weighs 8 lbs. but he and Orange Kitty are fast friends. They often sleep together and groom each other. Once in a while, play gets too rough and Orange Kitty will chase Morty and there will be a bit of hissing and spitting. Shelby does not allow this sort of behavior and will run to stand between them and break it up. And it works. No one messes with Shelby.

All of our animals get along quite well. There is no serious fighting, and very little grumbling. Sometimes a dirty look will be cast but that’s generally as far as it goes. As I look around now, I see all the animals sleeping and know all is right in their world.

The Challenge of Burning Wood with Dogs

Wood box by fireplace
Wood box by the fireplace.

Living with a lot of dogs gives you experiences you never dreamed of. We have six dogs. And we live in an old house that was built in the year 1830. Since we have old, leaky walls and windows, we supplement our heat by burning wood. Most of the wood is harvested from our property. As old trees come down, my husband splits and stacks them for firewood.

For years, we have had a wood rack beside the wood burning stove and a large wood box on the porch. Wood is brought from the wood crib behind the garage, where it is stored to dry and season after splitting. We move it from there to the wood box on the porch by wheel barrow, tractor cart, or sometimes just by filling a recycling tub and dragging it to the porch. The porch wood box holds enough for 4 or 5 days of burning. This keeps wood close to house so we don’t have to go outside in the cold and snow every time we need more wood.

We had the small wood rack, and now the small wood box, beside the fireplace so we don’t have to open the door to the porch every time we want to put a few more logs on the fire. Why did we switch from the small, indoor wood rack to the indoor wood box? One word. Dogs.

Four of our six dogs have suddenly decided that they like to chew wood chips and pieces of bark. A lot. This lead to us constantly yelling “no wood” or “drop it”, because we don’t want our dogs ingesting excesses of wood. A few bits, no problem, but they were starting to chew wood all day long. Boredom, I guess, although this has not been a problem in past years. So my husband built the new wood box and we have peace again. As much peace as you ever have with six dogs. Things have been much quieter. And we are not spending time every day sweeping up wood bits that have been strewn across the floor and around the house. Good job hubby, good job!

Sheltie in front of the fireplace
Nikki in front of the fireplace.

Nikki loves the fireplace. It feels good on her 13 year old bones. She and Shelby are our two dogs who do not chew wood. Nikki can be found in front of the fireplace most of the winter months. Even when there is not a fire going, she is often to be found here. She looks like she is encouraging us to start a fire to warm her up. She loves it there so much that often, she will not move when we open the door to add more wood or work on the fire. We either have to work around or move her. I guess that is one of the benefits of being the senior dog in the pack.

An Icy Hike, and Shelby Is Back!

West Branch State Park
Frozen reservoir at West Branch State Park.

Hiking has been challenging this week. We did take one day off because of icy conditions and bad weather, but then we were back at it. The reservoir at West Branch State Park has been frozen. We have seen several people ice fishing on it each day. Some of them have little tents they set up on the ice for a bit of protection from the elements. Others just cut a hole and fish. The photo above is one I took from a hiking/snowmobile trail on the south side of the reservoir.

Yak trax
Wearing Yak Trax for better traction.

We did hike yesterday. I knew the footing would be slippery with melted and re-frozen hard pack snow. With the warming conditions it was a combination of ice and slush. I strapped on the Yak Trax so I would have a better grip for safer footing. This was the first time I had used them for hiking and I was pleased. I felt much more confident that I could navigate the trails and keep my balance.

We also hiked today. I didn’t wear the Yak Trax today because it was warm enough that there was a fair amount of slush on top of the snow and ice. Footing was a little tricky. The trails were packed from snowmobiles, mountain bikes, and foot traffic. The packed snow was still there, but many times there was enough melting underneath that my foot would punch through the snow and fall a few inches. This means you have to pull your foot out of a hole. The descent through the layer of snow also ends with a jarring impact when you reach the bottom. The snow also slides and moves with each step so it was a tiring hike. We went 2.8 miles this afternoon, but I must say it seemed farther.

Sheltie, shetland sheepdog
Shelby is back!

Great news! Shelby is back to hiking. This is the first day she has rejoined us on our hikes since her attack by loose dogs exactly three weeks ago. Encounter With Loose Dogs, Gone Bad We kept Shelby home while she was healing up and to keep her wounds clean. She also had a thigh shaved due to dog bites and it has been too cold for her bare skin. Today the temperature climbed up over 50 degrees and Shelby has been wanting to join us again, so today was her lucky day. She did great. She was so happy to be back on the trails with us. Baxter was happy too. He never smiles as big as when his “sister” Shelby is walking with him.

Shaved leg, Shetland sheepdog
Shelby’s shaved leg.

It’s not the clearest view, but here you can see Shelby’s shaved leg. The fur has grown an impressive amount in three weeks. I call this haircut on her leg “The Howard Walowitz”. All you Big Bang Theory fans will understand.

Napping sheltie
Shelby napping after some time on the trail.

Here is Shelby napping. Her first hike in three weeks has her tired out. She is happy to be a part of the pack out on the trails again. I feel like we have overcome a big hurdle and Shelby is, if not back to normal, at least well on the road to recovery.

Do You Know What Color Rabbit Urine Is? (Or Another Post About Animal Waste!)

Bunnies at the fair
Bunny rabbits

Do you know what colors rabbit urine can be? I did not, but now I do and I was amazed.

I first pondered this question, because we had red pee turning up in the yard where the dogs do their business. I was concerned because…red pee, that cannot be a good thing, right?

I know we have had rabbits in the dog yard because we kept finding all those little, round bunny poop pellets. This didn’t surprise me all that much because I knew we had a rabbit and baby bunnies in the spring. They liked to feast on the sprouts in my my vegetable garden. As fall turned into winter, they started coming into the dog yard to dine on the large patches of clover. I’m sure it was quite a buffet for a hungry bunny.

It was rather annoying because, much to my dismay, our dogs find bunny droppings to be a tasty delicacy. The dogs all shoot out the door when I let them out to search for them. I hoped that the bunny would grow too big to fit through the fence slats. This has not happened. I thought about putting up chicken wire along the bottom of the fence, but bunnies can jump. Who would have thought bunnies would be brave enough to frequent a location that contains six dogs who leave droppings there several times a day? My best solution has been to try and scoop up the piles of pellets at the same time I scoop up the dog piles.

And then snow arrived. I’m sure the red urine was always there, but it wasn’t visible until it was on the white, snowy background. First, I followed all the dogs around for a couple days, checking the snow after they peed. No red in sight. Only the usual yellow. That was a relief. The red urine wasn’t from one of our dogs. Then I found some of the red snow near a pile of bunny pellets.

I performed a Google search and discovered that it is normal for rabbit urine to be clear or pale yellow, orange, or red. It did not even mean that the bunnies had an infection as I had feared. Any of these colors can be normal for a rabbit. Yet another thing that I have learned from the internet that I never thought I would need to know. My life does seem to revolve around bodily wastes way more than one would expect! Poop Is My Life! (Or gone to the dogs?)

I thought I would share my new found information with you, my readers. You can never tell when someone will need to know these types of things!

Thoughts On a Dog Attack and a Little Bit of Grace

Sheltie dog
Shelby and me.

As you likely know since you are reading this, we were out walking with our dogs on the trail a couple weeks ago when two loose dogs ran up and attacked Shelby and Zekie. Encounter With Loose Dogs, Gone Bad The two ladies who were with the dogs followed us back to the parking lot so we could exchange information. One of the ladies was the owner of the two dogs. She is relatively young. She was very apologetic and took responsibility for the incident. She agreed to cover any veterinary bills incurred.

The next day I took Shelby and Zekie to the vet. Three days after the attack I provided the girl who owned the other dogs with the bill and she sent me a check to cover the expenses on her way home from work that evening. I deposited the check at my bank the next business day. My two wounded warriors are healing nicely and the terrible event is behind us.

Oddly enough, I believe the owner of the other dogs and I are on our way to becoming friends. I chose not to press charges or file a report about the incident since the owner made it as right as she could. I could imagine how I would feel if I were on the other side of what happened. Her two dogs are “bully” breeds, and I did not want to take a chance that they would be put down. I know that if it were me and that happened, I would never recover. Even though they were guilty. And really, it was the owners fault for not keeping her dogs under control.

I have texted with the owner a number of times. She always showed concern about my dogs, saying that she thought about them every day and was sorry that she learned this lesson at the expense of my dogs. She acknowledges that she has learned a huge lesson and will never let her dogs run loose in a public place again. We have stayed in touch and I have gotten to know her better over these weeks and I believe her. It turns out we are both “dog people” whose dogs are our worlds. I look forward to continued contact with her.

I know that the relationship we have is unusual given the circumstances. I was in a position to show her grace. Good will that is not earned. And when it comes down to it, the desired outcome was for her to always keep her dogs leashed when in public. I think this has been achieved.

There were two ways to go about achieving this. The first would have been to get law enforcement involved. I did not want to do that for reasons stated above. Also, we did not know the severity of Shelby’s injuries at the time. The second way was to use this as a teaching experience.

I know I am more likely to change my behavior if someone approaches me kindly and explains things rather than getting in my face and making demands. This gets my hackles up and I want to do the opposite of what is being asked. I do acknowledge that had Shelby died, or suffered permanent debilitating injury, I would not have been inclined to be so kind. I am only human after all. I would have wanted retribution. But mercifully for us all, that was not what happened.

I posted about the attack on social media on the day the attack happened. I took some grief for handling it in the way that I chose. In fact, I received one comment directed towards me for not filing a police report that was particularly venomous. So much so that I took my original post down. I was suffering enough and not ready to deal with projected animosity too. I understand those who suggested contacting law enforcement to file a report. I am not saying that would have been the wrong thing to do here. But it is not what I chose to do. I was also contacted by one person who said that she was in a similar position about 30 years ago. Hers was the attacking dog, a dog that was good tempered and well trained. She said that she learned her lesson that day and has never let any of her dogs run loose since. I thanked her for sharing her story from the other side of the coin. People can learn and change.

In my dealings with the owner of the other dogs, she was nothing but cooperative, remorseful, and honest. She provided me with contact info for her dogs’ vet so I could contact them for proof of rabies shots and she did pay the bills for my dogs as promised. We have exchanged texts since then with her continuing to be remorseful and me saying I forgive her. If she had not shown remorse and taken responsibility, my actions would likely have been different. I don’t think our contact ends here. Maybe there is a purpose to my relationship with her. Given that she has done everything she said she would do during this time, I believe her when she says she will not let her dogs run loose again. It is my hope that I achieved the same outcome as lawful action but in a kinder way.

I wanted to explain the thinking behind the way that I handled this. It may not be the best way in all circumstances, but this time, I think it was. Everyone may not agree, but I hope it is respected. I hope that someone would show me grace if I make such a terrible mistake.

Using a Kong Toy to Reduce Stress

Dog and Kong
Zekie and his Kong toy.

I have found a way that Zekie is not so severely stressed when I must leave him in his crate. He is just a little stressed. This is quite an improvement for him.

I break a dog biscuit in half, spread peanut butter on each half, and toss them inside a Kong toy. (Make sure the peanut butter does not have xylitol in it. This is hazardous to dogs. I use natural to be safe. ) Sometimes I throw a carrot in too. I spread the remainder of the peanut butter from the knife around the inside of the Kong. The peanut butter keeps the treats stuck inside the toy so he has to work to get them out. This gives him something to do to occupy his mind. Zekie will go in his crate on command if he sees I have the Kong loaded. I used to have to find him and put him in his crate. Now he is willing to go for this special treat.

I also have a bone shaped Kong that I put a baby carrot in each end of, before I put Claire in her crate. Claire doesn’t mind her crate, I just like to give her a treat too. The other dogs don’t require a crate when we go away.

Often times, the treats are still stuck inside Zekie’s Kong when I return home and let him out of his crate. When this happens, he takes the Kong with him wherever he goes. He even carries it with him outside and back in, lest any of the other dogs find and confiscate it. I will eventually dig the treats out and hand them to Zekie.

The distracting toy makes for a much happier Zekie upon my return. And he is not covered in nearly as much “stress drool” this way. Give it a try and see if it makes your pup happier too.

Two Dogs, Sheltie

Shelby and Zekie Got Mail!

Something happened a few days ago that put smiles on the faces here at our house. Shelby and Zekie got mail! It was addressed to them, as was the card inside. As you may know, these are two of our dogs who were attacked by two other loose dogs while hiking about a week and a half ago. Encounter With Loose Dogs, Gone Bad

Get Well Card
Card received by Shelby & Zekie!

The card was signed “Love, Foxy and Wolfie”. These are two shelties that are owned by a friend of ours’ from the sheltie world. Foxy and Wolfie say they are glad that Shelby and Zekie are feeling better and send hugs, and to their mom too (me!).

What a blessing the friends I have made in the dog world, and elsewhere, are! My posts and updates about the incident garnered tremendous amounts of Facebook likes, hearts, and hugging cares. We feel loved. I hear comments about how social media is bad for people and results in stress and anxiety. I say, those people are not using it properly or perhaps associate with the wrong people. I have made wonderful, supportive friends who make my life better. When I have a trauma or upsetting experience, I post it (as long as it will not harm someone else), because I know my friends, acquaintances, and followers will share words of kindness and lift me up. This happens 99.5 % of the time, making it easier to ignore that one. That one was not my friend anyway, if they are “diss-ing” me.

The card that Shelby and Zekie received also points out how one kind action can change someone’s days. It certainly did for me. I feel lighter and more cheerful knowing that people have my back. It makes me want to be kind to others and share the positivity. It created a ripple that will spread to others and make the world a little bit better. Thanks Diane!

By the way, Shelby and Zekie are feeling much better. Shelby has been off pain meds for days, and finished the antibiotics yesterday. I still gently massage her wound area to increase blood flow to promote healing of the deeper tissues. On the surface her wound looks good. Zekie is a miracle, like the whole thing never happened. The prayers everyone sent have been answered. The two of them are doing great.

I thank you for your thoughts, prayers, support, and good wishes. I can feel them.

Encounter With Loose Dogs, Gone Bad

Sheltie Shelby resting after an injury
Shelby with her shaved leg, after receiving treatment for a dog bite.

The week before last was one of the scariest weeks I have had in a long time. My husband and I were out on our daily hike with five of our dogs. We were three quarters of the way done with the hike, back on the main trail and heading for the car. We were coming up on the crest of the last hill which also has a slight curve in the path, the kind you can’t see over. My husband was in the lead as usual and I heard him call out “loose dogs”.

This has never been too big of a deal before. The owners always show up and leash their dogs and we all go on our separate ways. Not so, this time. Zekie was barking like a fool as he often does. The two loose dogs, a large American Bulldog and a smaller pit bull mix, came charging at our dogs with their owners running behind calling them. They first went for Zekie, and his leash was pulled out of my hand. Both dogs were on him, rolling him, until he was on his back.

At this point, things get a little blurry in my mind because it all happened so fast and I was in shock. I remember my husband trying to hand me Baxter and Cassius’ leashes so he could go pull the two attacking dogs off of Zekie. The two girls were also running and trying to get control of their dogs. I was distracted by this and don’t know which dog was where a for a few seconds. I looked down and the smaller dog, about 50-60 lbs., had Shelby’s leg in his mouth. I’m not sure if he had also bitten her other times before I looked down or not. The smaller pit mix let go of Shelby when I was trying to kick him. I didn’t make hard contact because I didn’t want to get Shelby by accident.

I looked over and the American Bulldog, who was about 80 lbs., had Zekie in the ditch on the other side of the trail from where I last saw him. After I got the pit mix off Shelby, he ran to help the other dog attack Zekie. We thought Zekie was a goner. He was belly up with the two dogs biting at him and lunging and it looked like they were tearing him apart. At this point the girls were able to get their dogs off Zekie and leash them and maintained control.

Emotions ran high and there were lots of loud words. However, the girls were incredibly apologetic, taking full responsibility. They continued apologizing and agreed to follow us back to the parking lot.

We hiked the half mile back to the car with the girls and their dogs following at a distance so as not to get any of our dogs worked up again. Shelby was limping, but the bite I saw, looked like a half hearted attempt and I hadn’t found anything other than some red tooth marks, so we thought she was just a little sore. Zekie didn’t seem too bad aside from being nervous. We got back to the parking lot and exchanged contact information. One girl seemed to be the owner of the two dogs. The younger girl seemed to just be her friend. The owner of the dogs continued to say how sorry she was and said she would pay any vet bills that were incurred as a result of this incident. We couldn’t find any severe wounds on our dogs so decided to monitor them.

We went home and looked Shelby and Zekie over some more and didn’t find much. After a few hours, I noticed that our other dogs kept sniffing Shelby and wouldn’t leave her alone. This indicates there is something of note that they are paying attention to. I rolled Shelby over to get a good look. That’s when I found a puncture wound on her lower abdomen that turned out to be quite serious. You can read more about the details of Shelby’s wounds here. Progression of a Dog Bite Wound. She did end up on antibiotics, pain meds, and getting ongoing wound maintenance (warm compresses 3 times a day).

Our experience just goes to show that you cannot judge the severity of a dog bite or attack from what is visible at first glance. Things did not turn out how I thought they would. I thought Zekie was going to be dead at the end of the attack, or at least suffer life threatening injury. He didn’t suffer any major damage. Our veterinarian found some minor bruising and we never saw any other physical signs of damage on him. We think that he submitted to the other dogs and so they did not inflict significant harm like they might have if he fought back. Or maybe he was lucky.

Shelby did not fare as well. She garnered significant wounds. I did learn that much of the damage from a dog bite wound may not be visible to the eye. A lot of damage occurs as the teeth rip underneath the skin. There can also be crushing to tissues or organs. Shelby is healing up and on the road to recovery. I hate to think what would have happened if I did not take her to the vet so she could be put on antibiotics. She is on injury leave and not participating in walks for at least another week. The vet said she was a very lucky girl.

If your dog is ever in a fight, my advice to you is to have him checked over by a vet, unless you are absolutely certain that no damage was inflicted. Better safe than sorry.

Snow Dogs on a New Trail!

Sheltie dog and friend on a winter hike
Zekie and Claire on the trail.

We hiked with four of our dogs today, Zekie, Claire, Cassius, and Baxter. Shelby is still on injury leave from her run in with the loose dogs last week so rested at home. You can read about her injury. Progression of a Dog Bite Wound She is looking much better and her bruising is mostly gone now, we’re just finishing off the antibiotics as healing continues.

We went back to West Branch State Park to explore some of the trails we hadn’t tried before. From the the Mountain Bike Trail parking lot, we went down the main trail to trailhead A3. This trail is a snowmobile trail so it is nice and wide and relatively flat. We hiked out A3 until we came to the Bit O’ Honey Trail which is a mountain bike trail. Mountain bike trails are generally rougher, rockier, and tougher going. I am particularly slow, making sure I don’t trip on rocks, sticks, and so on. Even so, when it is in the 20’s, I get hot enough on these trails that I soon end up with my hood down and my gloves in my pocket. If it is a longer mountain bike trail, I end up with my coat unzipped too. That still leaves me with a turtleneck and a polar fleece and I am just fine. If we slow down, I just zip my coat back up.

Rocks at West Branch State Park
Rock view on the Bit O’ Honey Trail, West Branch State Park, Ohio.

The dogs start pestering us each afternoon around 1:30 pm. They know we leave for walking or hiking near 2 o’clock. On the rare day that we haven’t gone, they mope and give us dirty looks from the dog beds or couch. Yes, they are spoiled pups!

Dogs hiking, West Branch State Park, Ohio
Cassius and Baxter hiking with daddy.

Cassius the greyhound always wears a coat in the winter when we walk or hike. All our past greyhounds have too. They just don’t have the body fat to stand up to cold temperatures. Baxter the Lab/Rott/Dobe mix has never worn a coat until this year, once it got below 30 degrees. In the past Baxter never wanted a coat. Now that he will be 12 in a few months, he seems to get colder and appreciates the warmth. Other than that he hasn’t slowed down much. So, getting ready for winter hiking can be quite the process. In addition to two humans suiting up and getting the right boots, sunglasses, hats, etc., we also have two dogs to put coats on.

Two dogs hiking at West Branch State Park, Ohio
Baxter and Claire ready to get in the SUV after hiking.

Luckily, Baxter looks quite handsome in his coat. Of course, I am biased and think Baxter looks quite dapper all the time!