My Neglected Dog

The universe is conspiring against me and my dog.

Yeah, I’m really busy and my dog Honey would have to be dealing with that anyway. But the extreme cold is making things even worse.

Can I really blame winter for my neglected dog?

Honey the golden retriever on the beach at Cape May.

The woman says she’s sick of looking at snow. So this blog post will be snow free.

House In The Cold

We’ve had an extremely cold winter. The coldest of my life.

Today the temperature is in single digits with a wind chill of well below zero (that’s in Fahrenheit; in Celsius the temperature is well below zero with a wind chill of even more below zero).

It’s so cold, it’s damaging my house.

My house in cold.

Hey, how did that get in here? Yuck, I’m cold just looking at it.


Our back gate is frozen open, as is the door to the shed attached to our house. The basement floor is heaving in the extreme cold. I can’t do laundry until I unfreeze the drain to the washing machine.

And my exterior walls are cracking.

I’ve been slowly ticking off my house jobs list in preparation for selling. But rooms that were finished and in beautiful shape now need me to get out joint compound and a knife to repair tiny stress cracks because my house is moving in the cold.

Everything takes longer or has to be done more slowly (I can’t touch up paint unless I remember to bring it up from the basement to thaw first).

And the extra demands on my time from the cold is causing me to neglect my dog.

Golden Retriever Honey with a stuffed butterfly

Ahh, that’s better. And butterflies are a sign of spring.

My Job In The Cold

I usually ride my bike all year round. It’s the fastest way to get around.

But the numbing cold has come with regular snow.

My skinny, high-pressure tires don’t do well with ice and slush (which never melts because of the extreme cold). So my ten minute bike commute to work has turned into a twenty-five minute slog over unshoveled sidewalks.

And if I’m leaving earlier for work, that gives me less time with Honey. In other words, another way to neglect my dog.

Golden Retriever in Bicycle cart

Hook up the bike. Let’s go for some ice cream.

Me In The Cold

I have a Norwegian friend who says there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing.

I don’t know what those Norwegians are wearing. But I don’t have it in my wardrobe.

I try not to complain about the weather. I wear long underwear every day. And I tell myself the weather is brisk and bracing.

But I can’t tell you the last time I’ve taken Honey for a typical 90 minute walk. Even with layers, after twenty minutes, my legs are burning. And it takes me a long time to stop shivering after we return to the house.

Kayaker with a dog passing a lighthouse in Cayuga Lake.

Instead of a walk, let’s go for a kayak ride.

Honey In The Cold

I’ve never considered wearing a fur coat. But Honey definitely has me tempted.

This. Dog. Does. Not. Feel. Cold.

She’ll bark to go outside just to roll around in the snow. She even starts to pant lying on top of the bed with the heat turned way down for the night.

Honey is really tolerant and patient. But she does not understand why she’s not getting her long walks.

And she certainly doesn’t understand why I’d rather spend time with ladders, tools, and buckets of paint than her.

Poor Honey, you’re so neglected.

Honey the golden retriever rolls on the ground.

Well it’s not as much fun as the s-word. But I’ll take it.

Something Has Gotta Give

When I got up at 5 a.m., Honey let me know she was feeling neglected. She put her head on my lap and insisted on lovies instead of letting me get to work.

So I moved over to the couch and am writing on my laptop with her t my side instead of at my desk.

Maybe I can do the same with my office work later today.

I can’t have her near me while I’m painting the trim in the stairwell. But maybe we can play some nose work games in the living room when I’m done.

I don’t really know if Honey is feeling neglected or not. I might just be attributing feelings to her because I feel them.

Because I’m missing our long walks, playing fetch in the snow, and just cuddling on the couch with my poor, neglected dog.

Honey the golden retriever sits by the lake.

Don’t worry. Spring is coming.

Your Turn: How do you carve out special time with your dog when things get crazy?

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  1. I feel that cold all the way out here. I’m glad you posted nice sunny pictures…well mostly. Yes, Jack is insistent on his ‘me time’ each day, so I don’t have much choice. But I know when I’m especially busy I miss having enough of that time.

  2. Pam, It has been a long time since we have had this brutal a winter. It is almost over. Yes, it will melt all at once. At that point my dachshund will not want to go for a walk. She loves snow but hates getting wet or muddy. My lab could care less. She loves to get wet.
    Every day has special time. I use my laptop while sitting on the sofa. Lots of cuddle room. Dog treats are thrown down the very long hall. Extra exercise running back and forth!
    My lab is the one who gets hot indoors in the winter. At bed time I blow a small fan towards where she sleeps. She doesn’t pant, we don’t freeze. The air flow helps the house be less stuffy.
    I am looking forward to opening all the windows for fresh springtime breeze.

  3. We are sick of the snow, too! Keeping our fingers crossed that Spring actually is around the corner!

  4. That is just too cold, and way too snowy. I’m sure Honey is happy with any time you give her. Snuggles are good, and short walks are fine.

  5. We solved the cold and snow problem years ago by moving away from it. Our yard is a jungle now with no killing frost, but we’ll take it.

  6. While your winter is much worse, we’ve been having way more of a cold/bitter winter than is usual for my area. Single digit temps with relentless wind. I can put on enough clothes for every part of me except my eyes (need some ski goggles!) and my hands. I use ski bibs over top of sweats, and the wind doesn’t make it through, thick hunting socks, thermal top covered by a fleece jacket, then a winter ski jacket, scarf, and one of those ninja style hats that only let your eyes have an opening. I have great gloves but on a really cold day they just don’t keep my hands warm enough. Just so long as there is no snow on the ground to freeze their paws, my guys will go for at least an hour like that. But I just don’t enjoy it, so there have been a lot less walks lately, and slightly more stir-crazy dogs (and humans!).

  7. I think dogs are better than we give them credit for at accepting changes. I’m sure it is more your guilt and your own missing of those activities that makes you think Honey is feeling neglected.
    My dogs are missing their outdoors time too. I tried to at least get out for a few minutes each day, but these last couple of below zero wind chills day, I just can’t make myself any more. I’ve had enough. The dogs will whine at their balls for a few minutes, but then they’ll accept staying inside most of the time. We toss balls around in the house as we can (we haven’t broken anything yet) and do the nose work games too. But we’d all rather be outside enjoying some fresh air. It has to end soon, right?

  8. Things don’t usually get too crazy for me. Honey seems like she is adapting and just rolling with the punches. I’m sure as long as you are both around, she will be happy to adapt.

  9. You hit on something I’ve been struggling with: Are they feeling neglected? Because I sure feel like I’m neglecting them! The below-zero temps have eliminated most walking, and two out of three hate being out in the snow. We’ve been doing a ton of lounging around under piles of blankets. I’ve been working through my list of “indoor games,” but I’m not confident it’s stimulating enough after all these weeks! But, like someone said above, it’ll melt. We’ll make up for it with spring hikes. Stay warm!!

  10. Girl – I feel you! I was out this afternoon and the temperature was unbearable. I tried to turn around and head back to the house, but Harley wasn’t having it. He was loving the crisp chill. He ran and ran, while I tried to keep up. I’ve been home for three hours now and I am still chilled to the bone. Where is Spring?

  11. Squeaks, tug-a’s, snuggles. In that order! Although, you’re getting every bit of snow/cold we might have gotten this year.

  12. I’ve blamed winter plenty of times for our dog not getting out as much as I’d like her to. However, spring is here now so she can enjoy the outdoors again like she used to lol.