Day 11 With Dora

It’s so cold outside here. Especially since I lived for a year and a half in an area where it was usually 40 degrees (F) warmer than it was here. Several longstanding aspects of me have started to change.

  • I take hypothermia and frostbite more seriously now. 

I was never super lax about them earlier, but now I start wearing long sleeves sometime around 65 degrees, so I look like a charicature of winter when the weather is like this (13 degrees at the moment). Hat, long scarf wrapped around my face and ears, thick coat, 2-3 shirts, double gloves, 1-2 pants, and insulated boots. I’m not worried about looking tough or cool; I just want to be warm.

  • I am now the type of person whose dog owns clothes.

I did a few quick searches online and found out that most dogs who start limping in the snow (as mentioned a few days ago) do so because the salt irritates their paws or because their feet are just too cold.

Dora is a short-haired dog, without excess body fat, so she chills easily. The fleece you see her wearing is the inner layer of a ski jacket style coat. Today, my little family went for a walk and she wore both layers. We were only out for 19 minutes total, and we walked the same path both ways, so I would say that Dora started favoring her paws and shivering after about 10 minutes. Of course, we needed to walk back home, so she had to walk on her sore feet, but as usual for the last few days, once she warmed back up, Dora was fine again.

  • I am willing to exercise in the freezing cold if I need to.

 For most of my life, I’ve basically said “Exercise releases endorphins. So does chocolate. I’m eating chocolate.👍🏻” It’s how I got over 100 pounds of excess weight. At this point, I’m down almost 60 pounds so far, and I’ve been stable for the last year (which is a good and bad thing). 
Honestly, though, I’ve only been willing to exercise since July 12th (when Pokémon GO launched), but I don’t see anything wrong with making exercise fun enough that I want to do it again. So, this whole idea of walking for my own sake is still less than a year old.

I hope that the temperature rises to above 25 degrees soon, so I can be outside for more than a few minutes without issues. I volunteered at a dog shelter yesterday and was outside walking large dogs for 40 straight minutes. It was between 3-10 degrees, windchill much lower. I…. it took me almost a full hour after coming back into the warmth to realize how tough on my body it had been.

I’ve had hypothermia before, during a day hike with my family, and it’s not good. All I wanted was to sleep in the soft, soft snow. They wanted (and in fact forced) me to finish the hike. I wish they had actually called one of the emergency 4 wheelers who are on site for the purpose, since those last 2 miles were nearly impossible, but nope! Oh well. At least they didn’t let me die out there. It all worked out eventually.

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