Snowshoeing with Hannah and Pepper

30 12 2010

It’s snowing!!  I know it’s snowing outside before I even have a chance to look out the window.  My dogs run from one end of the house to the other (stopping to look out the window), both so excited to go outside and prance in the snow.  Sadly, in Eugene the snow doesn’t stick around long enough to fully enjoy it.  I don’t understand why they enjoy the snow so much, since neither are northern breeds.   

We have two dogs.  One is an elderly Doberman Pincher by the name of Hannah.  Our other dog is a small, middle-aged, energetic, 15 lb. Poodle/Bichon mix by the name of Pepper.  Every year we take a day trip with our dogs to a nearby snow park so they can frolic in the snow.  My partner and I prefer to cross-country ski, but we make this compromise for the dogs.

If you can walk, then you can snowshoe.   The key to snowshoeing with your dogs is to keep them safe.  First, it’s a good idea to give your vet a call and make sure your dogs are healthy enough for this activity.  As with humans, dogs, too, can get frostbite or hypothermia.  Because neither one of our dogs is a northern breed we equip them both with dog coats.  Hannah gets an extra layer with a sweater underneath.  Because Hannah is an elderly dog she is more susceptible to hypothermia.  Keep an eye on your dogs and watch for signs of discomfort such as shivering, or slowed breathing.

Because Pepper is so small, he gets tired quickly and we have to carry him for part of our trek (wrapped in a blanket).  We come prepared with a carrier for him.  Hannah carries a pack on her back; we load it with snacks and plenty of water.  When we stop to take a sip of our tea, our dogs take a break and drink water.   We periodically stop and check their paws for packed snow and ice.  Hannah wears protective booties, but we don’t have any for Pepper since we carry him part of the way.  Pepper’s paws tend to trap snow so we like to put paw wax on his paws.  When snowshoeing with your dogs, I highly recommend either booties or paw wax to protect your dog’s paws.

I still don’t know who gets more enjoyment from these outings; the dogs or my partner and me.  Our car ride home is quiet with the dogs sound asleep in the back and we humans grinning from ear to ear after enjoying the outdoors.  If you can take time in your lives for your furry companions, it is truly rewarding.

Winter is here and I suggest you grab your snowshoes and go frolic in the snow.  If you don’t own snowshoes you can rent them at Berg’s Ski and Snowboard shop.  We enjoy going to Midnight Lake/Bechtel Shelter, Salt Creek Falls or Waldo Lake.  Enjoy the Outdoors.

Written by Melinda Koshi Vega the Office Manager at the City of Eugene Outdoor Program

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One response

3 01 2011
Aimee Goglia

Sweet and informative! I look forward to hearing about your next family adventure.

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