Snow in Atlanta! Who would have thought. Since we rarely get more than one snowfall in a year (maybe longer), it’s a big deal. For all the rarity of the snow, almost everyone I have talked to said that their dogs LOVED playing in the snow – even dogs that saw it for the first time! My dog Sully loved watching me throw a snowball for him, then finding it where it landed and eating it – repeatedly – and continued the pattern until he was shivering from the cold and a belly full of melting snow. The picture below was taken by one of our clients and is a perfect example of dogs enjoying the snow.
Maybe its me, but I think that most dogs see snow and something changes inside of them. Maybe the snow makes their wolf instinct come back out a little – like Buck from The Call of the Wild:
And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again. The domesticated generations fell from him. In vague ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed, to the time the wild dogs ranged in packs through the primeval forest and killed their meat as they ran it down. It was no task for him to learn to fight with cut and slash and the quick wolf snap. In this manner had fought forgotten ancestors. They quickened the old life within him, and the old tricks which they had stamped into the heredity of the breed were his tricks. They came to him without effort or discovery, as though they had been his always. And when, on the still cold nights, he pointed his nose at a star and howled long and wolflike, it was his ancestors, dead and dust, pointing nose at star and howling down through the centuries and through him. And his cadences were their cadences, the cadences which voiced their woe and what to them was the meaning of the stiffness, and the cold, and dark. (The Call of the Wild, Jack London)
…or maybe not. I mean, dogs still like to have fun like any of us, and with their warm coats most are still well suited for cold weather. As we care for them and keep them healthy, they can turn any new situation into a fun game as long as they can run inside for care and shelter when they get tired or cold. Maybe it’s me that likes to think of even the smallest dog as descended from a tough predator. Either way, whether they are just having fun or think themselves as wolves running a trail in newly-fallen snow, it sure is fun to watch and fortunate that they let us in their “pack.”
– Doc Cleland