I was beginning to worry that Captain Kody would never experience snow before his first birthday in February. Actually, I have just been selfishly sad that it’s already January and we have had no snow. However, today as I looked out the window and saw the first, genuine snowfall of this winter, all apprehensions were cast aside. I have a very simple philosophy about winter: If it’s going to be cold, then it might as well snow. Like most lifelong Chicagoans, I, too, despise traveling in the snow, the ceaseless shoveling of the driveway and hapless scraping of ice off my car windows. Yet, still I think snow is a wondrous thing. It is pure white, glistening magnificence. I will never understand how anyone could loathe such an exquisite part of nature!
Think back … can you remember what it was like the very first time you experienced snow? While I might still jump around and dance for joy at the sight of snow gently falling on a winter morning, I honestly cannot even remember what the experience was like for me. Yet, I think it’s safe to guess that my reaction was probably quite similar to Captain Kody’s today.
Mr. fancy, fluffed out, “show” dog, Kody, has to wear boots when he goes outside and it’s wet, but after his precious feet were all covered and secure, Kody anxiously awaited his first encounter with snow.
At first, when he stepped outside, he seemed quite perplexed and confused. He acted as though something had just rudely gotten in the way of his beloved daily walks. Kody looked around for a while without making a move, but staying true to the crazy, fearless mutt that he is, all caution swiftly disappeared as he soon eagerly bounded up the street.
Kody snuffed the snow with his nose, patted it down with his feet, barked, howled, growled and snarled. He was having a fantastic time. All he wanted to do was play! He ran around in circles, licked the snow from his paws and off the fire hydrants, chased down some neighborhood children and tried to tackle my mother. I only wish he had been successful …!
As a Tibetan Terrier, Kody is designed for snow. It’s in his genes to treasure snow. Today, Kody was finally living for the first time as he should be! Tibetan terriers, often known as “the Holy Dog of Tibet,” were first bred hundreds of years ago in the harsh, wintery conditions near the Himalayas. And if you know your geography well, it’s very snowy in Tibet. That’s why Tibetan terriers are so agile, reliable, have insulating double coats of hair with a warm undercoat and a topcoat which has the texture of human hair, and large, sure-footed paws.
Unlike other dogs, Tibetans actually have broad, flat feet with hair between the toes – ideal for climbing mountains, their feet act as natural snow shoes. Sometimes, Tibetan Terriers were even sent to accompany a weary traveler on a treacherous mountain journey home. Seeing Kody’s sheer admiration for the snow today, it wouldn’t surprise me that he could navigate even the most challenging of winter conditions. As highly valued companions to the monks and families who owned them, they were well loved and cared for. They were never sold, but only given as gifts. It was considered quite a good fortune to be given such a cherished companion.
How blessed—or rather lucky I have been to have had Tibetan Terriers in my life since second grade!
Kody was not the only dog who enjoyed the snow today. I saw several other dogs out and about, wrestling with their owners and bouncing about in the freshly fallen snow. Keep in mind, though, that when dogs go outside, they generally like to do their business and not tell anyone about it—especially when they can disguise it in unassuming snow! Tread cautiously down your driveway and on those unshoveled sidewalks as you never know what might be waiting for you. And on that note, I will leave you with some very astute advice that my father once gave me: “Always remember: Don’t eat yellow snow.”