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How Do Walkers Deal With the Weather?

Three dogs geared up for the snow

I usually get one of two reactions when I tell people that I am a dog walker. The first is, “Wow, that is so cool, I looove dogs and need to get outside more”. The second, and more common is, “Oh gosh, how do you deal with the weather all day?”. It’s an understandable question, especially when asked in the dead of winter, where walking to your car is plenty of outdoors time for any normal person. Here is my answer:

How Do You Deal With the Weather?

All in all, we got pretty lucky this winter- especially compared to the frigid temperatures of last winter. The most snow that fell at once here in the Capital District was around eight inches. That’s enough to slow everyone down in the morning and to clear out certain aisles of Hannaford, but not enough to stop me from doing what I love. Your pups need a bathroom break whether it’s snowing, raining or bitter cold, and that’s what I am here for! I can’t imagine being stuck at work and thinking of your pup unable to get outside. I also want to add that I am certainly not out there alone. There are tons of other dog walkers in the area that are handling the same elements as myself, and they are all strong and driven people that I give so much credit to. And don’t forget our hard working mailmen, construction workers etc. who all face the weather together. On reasonably-weathered days, the mailman and I will stop and chat, but we have a silent agreement to give a pitiful wave when it’s pouring rain so we can both keep it moving.

I deal with the cold the same way everyone else does, starting with lots of layers and ending with keeping extra pairs of dry socks in the car at all times. My biggest challenge this year has been finding a pair of gloves that allows for easy handling of leashes, keys and treats while also keeping my fingers warm (still no luck if anyone has suggestions!). Heat is a totally different ball game, bringing with it gallons of water for myself and the dogs, constantly checking pavement with my palms, and taking lots of shady breaks to keep cool.

The dogs are what keep me going, and oftentimes I use their reactions to the outdoors to gauge my own. I may be less than thrilled to see snow when I wake up, but as soon as my own pup’s feet hit fresh powder and he starts zooming all over, I know it’ll be a fun day regardless. Every dog reacts differently to the snow; some are over the moon excited, some plant their feet at the front door and give me a look that says, “You try going out there in bare feet…I’d rather be in the crate”. Whether pups are encouraging me or I am encouraging them, in the end we manage to enjoy each walk.

Each season has their pros and cons:

Winter

Three dogs geared up for the snow Maddie, Stella and Murphy geared up for the snow.

Winter can be cold and blustery, sometimes numbing my fingers and toes, but it can also be crisp, sunny and refreshing. Sometimes you need that deep breath of cold air to revitalize yourself, right?

Spring

Dog wearing a sweater with a hood Spring = rain = hoods up!

There’s nothing better than when you are craving warmer days and they slowly start to creep in in March. Watching snow melt and new life begin to pop up (and more squirrels) means you can forget about hats and coats for a while- what a relief!

Summer

Dog in the shade on a trail Pet sitting for Hudson in summer meant a fun mini-hike in the shade.

(My personal ‘could do without’ season.) There is a lighter feeling about summer that I do thoroughly enjoy- perhaps it’s the lack of layers. The summer sun gets a bit too hot for me at times, especially when I am outside for hours at a time. There is also an element of unpredictability in summer weather, as rain and thunderstorms can come rolling in whenever they feel like it (even on days when I forget to pack my rain boots).  Did I mention how hot it gets? Bleh.

Fall

Dog standing in the fallen leaves Dover looking as handsome as ever with a fall backdrop.

(My personal ‘I could do this every day’ season.) I am being biased here, but I can think of more pros than cons about fall. Most pups would agree that there is no better combination than a cool breeze and sunshine. The panting from the summer heat begins to wind down, there’s no sweating or shivering- just happiness and peace.

So there you have it- my not-so-short answer to the question I get from just about everyone. When I am asked in person, I provide a simpler answer: “The dogs keep me going“. Looking back at some of the freezing temperatures, the scorching hot days, the unpredicted and unannounced rain storms, I often wonder how myself and other dog walkers do it. But the reality is, I can’t tell you how cold I was on a specific day or how uncomfortable I may have been. All I know is that I am happy every day, and that is how I deal. Thank you, as always, to my lovely clients and their pups for bringing me so much joy each and every day, I couldn’t do it without you! 🐶😊❤️