Today Iâ€™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, Â “Why are we doing this exactly?”
Itâ€™s not like she hasnâ€™t been outdoors, or even on â€œwalks,â€ 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. Sheâ€™s climbed up on some snowdriftsâ€”too light to break through the crust, of courseâ€”and gotten her business done. Then sheâ€™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.Â 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 sheâ€™s like a stuffed toy robot, programmed to act like a dog. (Having just seen Blade Runner, Iâ€™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 doesnâ€™t like the cold.