Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beagles and Boots

It has been cold here for the past 10 days or so.  In Saskatoon, it's not unusual for our temperatures to dip below -30C (-22F) in January.  Our daily lows haven't been quite that cold, but it's just not warming up much during the day.  Our daily highs have been hovering around -25C (-13).  Not freezing by Saskatchewan standards, but still pretty darn cold.

Gabe's arthritis seems to be bothering him more than usual lately.  I suspect it's because his glucosamine supplements haven't been particularly regular.  He's been on antibiotics for the past 3 weeks to deal with a bleeding peptic ulcer.  One pill at 7:30am; one at 8:00am; three at 8:00pm.  Because of this, I haven't been mixing glucosamine into his breakfast, as it's just too many meds.

So, out came the boots!  I ordered them a few years ago, actually, but I gave up on trying to get Gabe (or Arch, for that matter) to wear them.  The first time, I struggled to get all four boots on Gabe and then let him go outside.  He went raving bananas.  There are lots of funny videos on youtube of dogs trying out boots for the first time.  Gabe didn't just walk funny.  He was tearing around like his feet were on fire.  He eventually managed to work all 4 boots free, lost in the snow drifts.  Yay.

This time, I was smarter.  One boot at a time.  Still, as you can see, the boys weren't crazy about having to actually stand in them.

Gabe's been wearing his one boot outside each time we go, for the past 5 days or so.  He's doing pretty good with it, but still isn't confident about getting back up the 2 steps to the door.  I wish they had better traction on the bottom, but I don't know what to do about that.  It's made a noticeable difference in how long he can tolerate the cold, so we're going to keep trucking on with this. 

Both boys have Muttluks - Gabe's have a smooth leather sole; Archie's have a suede sole.  Other than the traction issue, I really like these.  I like how the shaft is fitted - I've seen some that make a sort of upside down open umbrella shape at the ankle; snow can pool in around the ankle that way.  I also appreciate how long the shaft is - extra warmth right up to their knees!