Though the fall, Cooper and I would be up at dawn and walking the neighborhood. Not being a morning person, this was a real challenge. Within the first two-months, I had seen more sunrises than I’d seen collectively in my life. Slowly but surely, however, it became easier and more enjoyable. It sure helped Cooper and I in getting to know each other.
Then, the weather began to change. First, it was just colder, then rainy, and finally the first snow. Rolling out of my warm bed once again became an unwelcomed chore. Cooper’s first experience with snow was a dusting or two with no accumulation to speak of. Other than being curious and a bit tentative, Cooper spent most of the time licking this new discovery.
Then came a four-inch snowfall that had me ending the walks around the neighborhood. Instead, I took advantage of our big, fenced backyard. While Cooper waded out into his first real snowfall, I stood at the back door in warm comfort sipping my morning coffee.
It only took Cooper a day before he was romping through the snow ignoring my calls to come back inside. Before long, Cooper had me outside tossing his favorite ball off our elevated deck out into the white landscape over and over again until I could no longer take the chill.
This routine worked quite well through what I was told was an unusually mild December and into the first week of 2022. Then that all changed. I’d been told Chagrin Falls was in the snow-belt and had experienced two significant storms in our first winter back in the Midwest. But this recent storm not only dumped somewhere around 20” but came with 40-mile-an-hour winds. And it was the first major storm with our little Cooper.
Our pup is a miniature Labradoodle that weighs a little over 25 pounds. He has fairly long legs but not long enough to cope with deep, drifted snow. The storm had hit over night so the results greeted Cooper and me. I staired out the back door, mouth agape, while the unsuspecting dog dutifully sat eagerly waiting, legs crossed, to be permitted to head out and relieve himself.
When I went to push the storm door open, it only moved a few inches before the snow brought it to a halt. There wasn’t enough room for Cooper to slip through. Repeated shoves of the door finally created just enough space for Cooper, but he took one look and sat back down. Several minutes later, after squeezing through the opening, finding the snow shovel from the garage and clearing more space, I called for Cooper to come on out. He’d have none of it.
It took several more commands and a handful of treats for him to finally venture outside. He looked around, then back at me forlornly, as if to say, “how do you expect me to do my business?” I began to attack the snow drifted as much as five-feet on our back decks.
I was so busy that I lost track of Cooper for a few minutes. When I looked for him, it was easy to track him by the yellow snow on both sides of the recently disturbed snow. It looked more like a trail made by a slithering snake that a four-legged pup. My gaze finally found our multi-colored (mostly white) dog under some trees on the property line. His white parts blended with the snow while the dark spots seemed to be floating around on their own.
As I watched Cooper, it quickly became clear that he was struggling to find a place and a way to finish his business. Finally he assumed a familiar pose on top of some semi-packed snow and started. Soon I was laughing out loud as his butt slowly began to follow his deposit into the deep whiteness. Somehow, Cooper managed to finish and come out clean as, dare I say it, the driven snow. He did arrive at the back door, however, doing a good imitation of a snowball.
That big snow and more that have followed, are still with us. Some say it will likely be with us until May. Meanwhile, Cooper and I have returned to walking the neighborhood as the streets and main sidewalks are, for the most part, kept clear, and dog and his master are looking forward to May’s arrival.