Today is not technically the first day of Spring but coming out of the second coldest February in recorded history here in the Chicago suburbs it felt amazing to walk outside with Jackson and Tinkerbell and to feel the warm sun beating down on us. With most of our February mornings barely seeing temperatures above ten degrees, their outdoor play sessions have been reduced to just quick potty breaks or the occasional one lap around the yard in a sad attempt to run their beloved snow zoomies.
This morning I found myself having one of those simple but perfect moments with the dogs, completely unplanned, in my own backyard but absolutely perfect. I threw on my snow boots and jacket over my pajama pants and sweater and followed the dogs outside. Yesterday was Jackson’s fourth birthday and we had purchased a new ball for him, although Tinkerbell had taken it over immediately as her own. The new ball was a big purple Jolly ball with a thick braided rope through the middle with knots on each end. I anticipated hours of fun throwing it to them and watching them play tug-o-war with it together.
It was warm and sunny and our deck was finally dry and free of snow and ice and I sat down on the steps of the deck for the first time since last Fall to watch them play with the ball. I could spend hours doing this.
I think I appreciate my young dogs with their strong muscles and their endless energy so much because I so recently lived through three senior dogs and saw how hard it becomes for them to do simple things like sit down or climb stairs. To watch 1.5 year old Tinkerbell and 4 year old Jackson play, knowing how close their bond is to each other and how much fun they are having together, makes me happy.
After their play session ended the sun was becoming so warm that I removed my coat and sat down in one of our deck chairs while they sniffed the grass that had been covered with snow for so long. They wandered the perimeter of the fence, smelling things that had been covered up under snow drifts that were taller than they are.
I ran inside and grabbed their brush and brushed them, something they both love. Even though they have beautiful coats without any grooming thanks to their Canine Caviar holistic pet food they were starting their warm weather shedding. I watched as tumbleweeds of black hair drifted across the deck and into the last of the slush that had yet to melt.
After I was finished brushing them, Tinkerbell ran back into the yard to continue playing with the new toy and I sat back down on the steps to enjoy the warm sun on my own face. Jax walked up behind me and reached his big blocky head over my shoulder to nuzzle my face and sniff my ear and I reached my arm back and draped it over his shoulders. We sat like that for a few moments in the sun as he sniffed the air for the latest “news” and I reveled in the perfect simplicity of a sunny morning with my dogs.