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  • Writer's pictureDan FitzPatrick

Weather, Spaces

I enjoy the weather where we live. Logan and I talk about that a lot. I especially like the fact that there are four distinct seasons (I call them "weather themes"): cold and snowy; warming and wet; hot and sunny; and cooler with falling leaves.

As Australian Shepherds, Logan and I were born to be outside and active; we have a double coat of fur that helps keep us warm in the cold season and cool in the hot one. Our patterns are different -- Logan's is a tricolor arrangement of black-white-brown sections and mine is more of a mottled mix of black and white with brown accents (the humans call it "blue merle" for some reason, even though there is absolutely no blue in it) -- but we like that too; it helps the humans distinguish us, and we think the overall effect is, frankly, quite handsome.

Currently, it is very cold outside. We had a huge deposit of snow recently, which was great fun. I have always loved the snow, and this past snowfall was particularly enjoyable -- very deep, light and fluffy. It transformed our yard into a huge white field of endless enjoyment. However, not everything was great about it -- even though the snow was so light, because there was so much of it, it collapsed the netting our eldest male human had constructed over the garden last summer to keep the birds out. He is not going to be happy when he sees that!

Logan loves to tell the story of when as a young puppy I experienced my first snowfall. Apparently, I ran around in circles trying to catch the snowflakes in my mouth. That year, the snow was deeper than I was high, and I had to jump like a gazelle (I only know about gazelles by watching nature shows on our humans' television) in order to make any forward progress. I understand that experience now, and it is probably the reason why I take such delight in continuing to do it when the snow is deep enough!

This year's cold-with-snow season has not been particularly cold or snowy, until very recently. Today, it is very, very cold, so Logan and I will likely spend most of the time in our "weather spaces."

We are very fortunate to have an arrangement that allows us to be inside or outside at will. Our human family's house has a very large room they call the "garage," which is heated. It's an odd room, because it is the only one we know of that they don't actually live in. It must serve some sort of storage purpose because they seem to keep a lot of supplies there, along with two very old examples of the four-wheeled machines they use to transport themselves, and us, around in. I say old because they are not used very often, the eldest human male spends a lot of time working on them (at least he seems to enjoy that) and they leak and smell a bit. They are no bother to Logan and me because the room is more than adequately large to provide comfortable space for us.

That room has an opening to the outside with a flexible flap or door that allows us to go in and out while keeping much of the weather out (the humans call it the "dog door," which Logan and I feel might be a bit "caninistic," but we tolerate it because we love our human family). I must say, that door is very convenient. On bad weather days, Logan and I can stay inside, warm and dry, while still being able to go outside to take care of necessary business. It is a very sweet arrangement.

We did have a bit of a complication during this last snowstorm; the snow drifted up against the door, covering it completely on the outside. Logan and I had to join forces to push it open from the inside. Teamwork prevailed!

The garage is not our only weather space. When we are not outside in our yard, we also spend time in another room in our human family's house they call the "mud" room. It is very comfortable, and is where we have our beds -- big, soft, comfortable, cushy, mattress-like cushions that we can curl up and sleep on. Why they call it the "mud" room, we cannot for the lives of us figure out. There is no mud in that room, not even much dirt (it gets cleaned very often). There are two machines there that the humans put their clothes in and take out on a regular basis; perhaps that is where the mud is, or maybe they are using those machines to take the mud out of their clothes? In any event, none of that spoils our enjoyment of the "mud" room.

But in truth, for us, the best space in the whole house is what our humans call the "family" room. It is where we spend most of our time with them, which is far and away the best time ever. That room is where they have the television, which they have taken to watching a lot more than usual during the past two years (a lot has been different the past two years). They probably don't realize it, but Logan and I love it when they are watching television -- we learn so much! And for us, just being with them, curled up at their feet, is absolute heaven.

There is one other space, particular to me. It may be where I am happiest. Each night, our humans go up the big set of stairs to their own special room, to sleep. There is a spot, in the doorway between the family room and those big stairs, where I like to lie, and often sleep through the night. It is a very strategic spot, for from it I can see and hear just about anything on that first floor which might disturb their sleep. And in the morning, when the eldest male human comes down those stairs, I am there to greet him, with my tail (yes, unusually for an Australian Shepherd, I do have a tail) wagging excitedly. I find it an exceptionally good way to start the day.

These days, in this place, a dog's life is a good one!

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