A Doglike Dog in Springlike Weather


In her sad place

Today I’ve had my first daily requirement of Vitamin D in months. Since November at least. I took a half-hour walk outdoors in the sunshine. In the sunshine.

The birds were singing. The snow is melting. And did I mention the sun is shining?

I even took along our little dog Roxie. She regarded the outside world today like an indoor cat who sets one hesitant foot on the threshold and pulls back, having heard tell about coyotes. She darted along beside me, skittishly glancing over her shoulder with a worried expression, seeming to ask,  “Why are we doing this exactly?”

It’s not like she hasn’t been outdoors, or even on “walks,” during this long, cold season. Her scrawny seven-pound self has been out on the driveway several times a day, and even occasionally down the driveway to the front sidewalk. She’s climbed up on some snowdrifts—too light to break through the crust, of course—and gotten her business done. Then she’s hustled back inside, trembling with cold and sometimes pathetically holding up one foot or the other, feigning frostbite.

If you are one of those large-dog snobs, a person who would never compare your dog to a cat, even as a joke, a person who brags about their Malamute bounding through the snowdrifts, impervious to cold, just stop right there.  Dogs come in different colors, sizes, and shapes, just like people, and little dogs (now that I have a little dog) should not be scorned. We celebrate differences in this enlightened age, right?

In most ways, our little dog is extremely doglike. I used to say that our old dog Shucks must have read the manual on how to be the family dog. He barked at the mailman, stuck his head out the car window, and greeted us deliriously when we came home. He checked off all the requisite dog behaviors, satisfying in his very ordinariness. All he ever had to do was act like a dog, and he did it perfectly.

So too with Roxie. My daughter says she’s like a stuffed toy robot, programmed to act like a dog. (Having just seen Blade Runner, I’d call her a replicant.) She becomes unhinged when the mailman comes, climbing on the back of the couch to watch for him and flinging herself against the front door to scare him away. She darts after squirrels. She growls maniacally when attacking her favorite toy (The Fox).

Her little chest is filled with a big-dog heart, in other words. She just doesn’t like the cold.

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4 Responses to A Doglike Dog in Springlike Weather

  1. Kathy says:

    I looked up “Lowchen,” and the pictures made me smile. I imagine your Roxy weighs a few more pounds than our Roxie. How old is she?

    Our dog turned her head when our son mentioned “Rocky” as a possible name, and we settled on Roxie as a more feminine version she will still respond to. My husband, the movie guy, liked the connection with movie theaters. Most are spelled “Roxy,” but there’s a “Roxie” in San Francisco.

    Send a picture of yours!

  2. Michael Whitely says:

    I live far away from you, on the other side of a cultural divide, and we will never agree on spelling. You call your little dog Roxie and we call our little dog Roxy. Is that a duet I hear, something about tomato and potato? She is named after Roxy Music. All our dogs have been musical. We had an English Cocker Spaniel named Joe Cocker. He used to sing, ‘You can leave your fur on’. And then there was Floyd…

    We also live on the other side of the world, in another hemisphere, down in the South West corner of Australia, and here the days are getting shorter, but not cooler. We couldn’t be further removed from snow. We had 1,000 fires in January and the one in the great Karri (hardwood) forest was so big it could be seen from space. February was the hottest month on record and, for heaven’s sake, last week a cyclone went just past our right shoulder, which is like having a hurricane land somewhere in Canada.

    We take Roxy for a walk at 5:30 AM, or a bit later now. If it’s at first light, she chases the ball to burn off energy, rolls in the dew and comes back a soggy doggy but if the sun has properly risen she heads for the shade and lies down exhausted. Thank goodness we have air conditioning. With regard to little dogs being cats, she is far more than a cat. She is a Lowchen, a little lion dog, and she rules the jungle that is our house, issuing a challenge at every doorway and pouncing on unsuspecting legs. She can growl and she has just learnt to bark, so we spend a lot of time rushing out to see what other wuff is passing by and getting to meet a lot more neighbours.

  3. Kathy says:

    I agree with all the advantages of little dogs. Especially when they get older, it’s so nice to be able to help them in the car, up the stairs, etc. Like you, though, Mary, I’m a fan of all dogs.

  4. Mary says:

    Big fan of ALL dogs here, but especially of little ones. Advantages abound, including: you can pick them up and carry them around, they can snuggle on the couch for purposes of watching tv, napping or reading and they live longer. Had a humane society small dog ?part poodle? mixed breed from 1985-2001. Just had the pleasure of dog-sitting for a small dog with a big personality. Love ’em. P.S. I don’t like to walk in the cold either.

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