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Delight. Do you see it? Do you feel it?

February 1, 2021

We received about 10″ of snow in the past day or so. Before then, the frozen white stuff has been mostly absent around here this winter. Itching to be outside for any good reason to test out his new snow boots was my older son Drew. Cooped up inside “forever” (his words) due to Covid, the forecasted frozen precipitation promised to provide him a great opportunity. Namely, clearing our snow covered driveway and sidewalk.

So off we tramped into the falling snow, Drew with the snowblower and me with a shovel. It didn’t take long to tidy up our slice of the neighborhood even as the continuous snowfall guaranteed we would have to do it again later in the day.

The entire time we worked we were ‘supervised’ by Merrows, our almost 9-year-old golden retriever. There she stood in the picture window staring at us, eyes wide open, little pink tongue perking playfully out of her mouth. After years of living with her, we knew what she really wanted–to be outside with us. Because, other than on carefully leashed walks and the occasional trip to the park, Merrows rarely gets to frolic outside. As a dog trained to be a service animal from when she was a puppy, she has been carefully nurtured to be calm and obedient–a perfect companion for our younger son Alex.

However, now that she’s retired, she lives a life of relative luxury. Dog biscuit rewards after humdrum forays to relieve her bladder in the backyard, a chewy plastic Kong smeared with peanut butter and yet another dog biscuit buried inside every night, hours and hours of sleep on the sofa or in a comfy chair, her snooze often interrupted by us stroking her soft ears or gaping belly. She is royalty around here, and is treated as such in that coddled way a pet might be treated by doting keepers.

But that’s not what she wants right now. We looked very intriguing to her and she wants in on that. Our work done for the time being, I opened the front door and called her to join us.

Once outside, she looks around and sniffs. Golden retrievers have a keen sense of smell, and Merrows is fond of trying to detect whatever fragrance might be in the wind. Possums, skunks, other dogs…it doesn’t matter. And with snowflakes melting on her warm nose, she occasionally snorts. It probably tickles.

But what really tickles Merrows is deep, fluffy snow. And today we have plenty. With a little coaxing “Go ahead!” she springs over the piled-up mounds of our work and dives with a poof into the stuff. Pausing for just a second as if to say “Wow! That feels great!”, she looks around and gallops as best she can across the yard. She acts as if she’s being chased, but we don’t even need to. She is wallowing in that giddy way young kids do when they first experience how soft and different deep snow feels. She even decides to do little circles around the one big tree in our yard, daring us to try to catch her. We aren’t very close to her, but we lunge in a dramatic way anyway and Merrows reacts with a start. She jumps in the opposite direction as if she has just grabbed a forbidden slice of pizza off the kitchen table. It is exhilarating to watch.

Eventually she slows and catches her breath, wet snow caking her fur. Drew decides to test out his new snow pants and huddles next to her. He gently strokes her as that ever-present smile seems to get wider. That’s delight. To do. And to witness.

Merrows experiences delight. And so do we.

From → Family Stuff

One Comment
  1. Peggy Vaughan permalink

    You still got ii….love your writing…snow is for dogs and kids!

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