It’s Not the Snow in the Dog, It’s the Dog in the Snow


Face it. Our dogs usually have us snowed.

“Of course I can sleep on the couch.”

“Why shouldn’t I eat people food?”

“Yes, there’s really a giant monster at the front door!”

We are blinded by our love, more often than not. But, love is not blind out in the blinding snow.

The first morning after this storm hit, we all tripped over each other to be the first out the door, into the winter.

Timber’s Husky genes kicked in and she pulled her little body down the alley in big strides, even though at 13, she doesn’t run much anymore. Ibn did his best sea otter imitation, flopping over and rubbing his snout on the ground. Charlie broke trail—gracefully bounding like a deer.

There was no denying it: the mood of the pack had changed.

I always love the big snow—I relish its overt symbolism of a fresh, clean start. And the world turns more slowly, in those muffled heavy moments of falling. I am human. I want it all to mean something.

But what makes a dog love the snow?

Something is altered in them, too—this energy propels them forth, regardless of short legs and snowballs.

I mean, I even met a woman and her Jack Russell out in the snow Thursday night. The little guy was just zipping along and his person told me that he loved it. She couldn’t get him to go in. She was cold and he was happy as a clam.

People don’t want to anthropomorphize other animals. We hesitate to assign them emotion. I get that, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t think they have emotional lives. The snow changes them, as much as it changes me and I don’t need to say how.

Inside our house, they may try to convince me of any number of things. Outside, they are too busy surrendering to their senses and instinct.

With them, I never think about not going out in the storm. They need to be outside. That’s the place where they move most freely, where they do what dogs do.

With them—I know with all my animal self—that I love them because they don’t need a reason, they simply need snow.




Wordsmith Danielle Lattuga’s other blog posts are poetic, too: Pet Names for PetsThe Dog Days of Missoula’s Pet Ordinance, and Missoula Dogs About Town. Check out Danielle’s other posts at the Horse Around, Missoula blog page.

 Click here to see all of the Dogtown Missoula archives.


Danielle Lattuga lives happily in Missoula, Montana with two unemployed herding dogs and a lab who makes everyone smile. Whenever her work takes her away from home, she must explain that someone has to put food in the dish, before she shuts the door and ponders the benefits of purchasing a small flock of sheep and a kitty pool.