Once upon a time, I used to be a fair-weather dog walker. When faced with conditions like we're experiencing today, I came up with plenty of reasons why I shouldn't venture into the elements. But since getting a Goldendoodle named Lucy who needs regular exercise no matter what, we make long, all-terrain walks a daily adventure -- and I've now become militant when it comes to calling bullshit on the sort of rationalizing I used to engage in, too.
Here's our photo-illustrated top ten list of excuses people make for not walking their dog on a day like this and why they couldn't be lamer. Count them down below.
Number 10: If you walk in stormy weather, you'll get sick This was one of my favorites. I have a phobia about being rained or snowed on while I'm out and about, because of the number of times I caught a cold afterward -- as if illnesses are caused by chilliness instead of viruses or germs. But I subsequently discovered that if I was properly outfitted, I could walk in any weather for extended periods of time and be no more likely to get ill than if I'd stayed inside a plastic bubble in a safe room. See, there are these things called hats...and coats.... Number 9: All your dog really wants is to do is his business Congratulations: When your dog went to the backdoor and scratched, you let him out, thereby preventing him from exploding. But walks are about more than emptying bowels and bladders. There's also marking territory -- which could be your living room carpet if you don't get off your ass. Continue to keep counting down the top ten excuses for not walking your dog during a spring storm -- and why they're bullsh*t. Number 8: You've already put your winter clothes away This is totally plausible -- and also among the weaker excuses you can make. It's not like you stored them in Nova Scotia. They're probably in a box in your closet, and given that you set them aside recently, it's doubtful anything is on them. That means you can access them by walking a couple of feet and bending over. Bet you can manage. Number 7: Your friends and neighbors will think you're an idiot Yes, there's a good chance you'll become a punchline. That happened to me yesterday: Someone driving past made a point to stop and remind me it was cold as I stood in the middle of a street with wind blowing snow into my teeth. But in such a situation, you can choose either to feel embarrassed and slink away or laugh along with them and continue on your way, knowing you brightened their day for a minute or two. And your dog doesn't care if the world thinks you're crazy. Continue to keep counting down the top ten excuses for not walking your dog during a spring storm -- and why they're bullsh*t. Number 6: Your dog doesn't want to go out in that weather, either This one's plausible, as I know from personal experience. In addition to our Goldendoodle, we've got a fourteen-year-old mini-Schnauzer named Sonny, and if the temperature's too low, we practically have to force him to go outside in order to prevent him from poisoning himself with his own waste. But most bigger, younger dogs like Lucy aren't bothered by the elements, with lots of them glorying in the opportunity to plunge through piles of snow and splash through puddles. If anyone doesn't dig that kind of thing, it's you. Number 5: You'll get messy Yes, you probably will get messy. Yesterday, I came back with my pants spattered with who knows what -- which is why I wore jeans I specifically designate for muddy or snowy conditions. On top of that, we have a washing machine. There's a good chance you do, too. Continue to keep counting down the top ten excuses for not walking your dog during a spring storm -- and why they're bullsh*t. Number 4: It doesn't matter to your dog whether you go out or not Lie. Blatant lie. Your dog loves your companionship, and he'll be happier spending time with you indoors than if he was home alone. But he is going to have a lot more fun exploring the great outdoors with you by his side than sleeping on your feet and you know it. Number 3: Walking will rev your dog up True. When Lucy and I get back from our walks, she's frequently wired -- and during storms, when people are spending most of their time indoors, that can be irritating as hell. But minutes later, she typically collapses in a pleasantly sated heap. You can handle that, can't you? Continue to keep counting down the top ten excuses for not walking your dog during a spring storm -- and why they're bullsh*t. Number 2: No other dogs will be around to play with Could happen. Even dog parks tend to clear out during inclement weather, and during our forty-minute walk yesterday, Lucy and I encountered only one other pet -- a dog whose owner had hustled him into the common area of an apartment complex to pop a squat before heading right back inside again. Given how poorly behaved Lucy can be, that's not necessarily a bad thing from my perspective. But even if your dog's very social, he'll still enjoy some personal time with you, guaranteed. Number 1: Afterward, your house will smell like wet dog Yes, it will. But knowing that you braved the storm when so many others made excuses and stayed inside, it'll also smell like victory.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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