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  • Andrew

Winter Walkies

What’s your favourite season? Such a simple question isn’t it. A question that inevitably conjures up those emotive memories of lazy summer evenings when nightfall doesn’t seem to exist. Having a cold glass of Pinot Grigio is one of my favourite summer pastimes, where you can close your eyes and pretend you’re on the Continent enjoying some well deserved downtime and rest. I’m getting rather good at it. That’s what summer’s all about. Always relaxed, never a care in the world (on weekends) whilst daydreaming on how to break it to your family and friends that you’re moving abroad to live the sun-tastic life you truly deserve. The Great British weather shall hold me back no longer!

The thought of those cold winter nights where walking to the end of the road and back for that final potty break, whilst dealing with the horizontal rain and biting wind is surely the equivalent of taking a stroll up Mt Everest. Okay, slightly overdramatic, but you get my jist right? Call me a summer guy every day of the week….

I’ve always found those people who enthusiastically declare their undying love for winter rather bizarre…. until now.

Let me explain this further. For my entire Monday to Friday 9-5 corporate life, being lucky enough to catch 30 minutes of the weak setting sun was always declared a success in my book. Hooray, that’s my Vitamin D intake done! Back home now for some extra calcium and multivitamin tablets to boost up those levels to get me through, until I see a Daffodil. It’s either this or a trip to the local tanning salon. Surely it doesn’t need to come to that does it? Why do I have to work inside for God's sake? No wonder tanning beds are viewed by some as a solution. God no, winter as your favourite season? It’s like taking a car trip to the drive thru of The Revenant film set, whilst simultaneously working out how much bloody money you’ve racked up on your third umbrella since Halloween.

Thankfully, that’s all a distant memory now (apart from the supplements). Being a dog owner and now turned dog walker means that your commute to work in the winter is hopping* in your car with the dog and going in the opposite direction of the traffic jams formed by the 8AM early morning commute. Admittedly, there are a couple of pitfalls to this new commute of mine. Firstly, gritters don’t tend to care too much for that narrow lane in the middle of the countryside, where only you and what must be the local tractor-riding dairy farmer dare to venture down, at such ridiculous hours of the morning. Likelihood of driving on ice - very likely. The second pitfall is, it’s still dark. Walking dogs in the dark isn’t great fun, but walking dogs during sunrise can at times, be the ultimate nirvana. It’s fine though - I’ve got fully functional beams for these moments in the car. Probably need to check if the full headlight beams definitely work when I get back home…. likelihood of me remembering to check this later on, very unlikely.

Once I’ve arrived at one of my favourite walking destinations, I sometimes catch myself glancing at the dog, knowing full well she doesn’t quite appreciate the all round effort made, to get to her undoubtedly favourite walking destination. It’s all worth it though isn’t it? Being able to experience those dawn winter walking moments makes me feel so grateful to be doing what I’m doing. This isn’t a job, it’s a vocation that has the following benefits package - fresh air, ultimate freedom and being at peace with the beautiful world around you. Right up until the dog takes the first morning poop. Don’t worry though, that sense of serenity comes back time and time again during those early morning winter walks.

I don’t understand how some dog owners think walking their dog in the winter is a chore. How can this be, when there’s the soft crunch of snow beneath you, or when you see your best friend having the time of their life by feeling nothing but joy and love for you, by providing them with this incredible life. Your dog doesn’t care too much for the daily Covid-19 figures, nor does your dog care whether you forgot to take the milk out or, that the now melting ice is forming the biggest fun-ridden mud puddle you can possibly imagine. All your dog cares about is enjoying this one

walk with you, and probably diving into that mud puddle given half the chance. That’s what is so special about these winter morning walks. You have made your dog's morning, but it also goes deeper than that. You're making your dog's life the happiest and fun filled it can possibly be. Don’t let any cold winter morning put you off giving your dog that ultimate nirvana either.

That’s exactly why I’m a dog walker and exactly why now, I’m a winter guy every day of the week.

*Definition of hopping = de-icing the car for 10 minutes and losing the feeling in your fingers.

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