Winter Hobby

Boy this past weekend sure was a cluster weather wise, wasn’t it? Hope everyone is safe and warm now. Yesterday was very windy and melted most of our 6″ of snow and the temps were more than decently warm for January.

Seems like juggling is now my newest winter hobby, because a girl just can’t have enough hobbies, right? No, I’m not talking about juggling balls, more like juggling pet and people and assembling their clothing. Originally I was going to call this post “Dressed for Success” because of how I have to bundle me and two dogs up for our walks during cold weather. Then I thought, “Hmm, can I really claim success” when clearly I suck at it?!

When it’s bitter cold, it’s probably best to dress in layers, right? I figured layers would keep me sufficiently warm. And I was right. But half way through even a shortened walk, I started to feel like I was about to ignite, it’s so hot. Notice the dogs’ coats and the Michelin Man puffy coat. I’m also wearing a sweater and fleece pants, lined Sorrel boots, hat, mittens and sunglasses for the glare. All those needs to be put on inside the house. On the days when snow boots are put on the dogs, you can add at least another 20 minutes trying to cover 8 paws before leaving. Mittens are the final go-to item to put on once outside to be able to lock the door when I leave and by now I’m already starting to overheat after dressing the dogs (“could you please hold still while I buckle all these straps?”), pulling the boots on, zipping the coat and making sure there are plenty of poop bags on board. Mittens are a blessing for keeping normally cold hands a bit more toasty, I rationalize. There’s just one problem with mittens.

What ‘cha doing back there, mom?

How in the bloody-blue-blazes do you hold two leashes, keep the dogs going in the same direction, maintain your balance on an icy sidewalk and then try to pull out a waste bag with mittens? I mean, it’s all I can do to get the darn things on, and the second one is pulled up with my teeth and now I have to remove one in order to pull the bag out, and try to open it up. Meanwhile the Ninja has spotted a squirrel and is laser focused on that, all the while trying to stretch as close as possible to said squirrel and as far away from me as possible. Think drawn and quartered. Now that Sam has squeezed out a ‘deposit,’ he wants to get away from the steaming pile ASAP, which translates into “let’s wrap the leash around mom’s legs, behind her.”

Can anyone explain to me how to separate the ends of the bags so you can easily open them? Is there some secret trick? Even in the best of winter weather, it’s like trying to tear sheet metal apart. I’ve even tried tearing them off in advance, opening and separating the ends and putting them in my pocket of the jacket which normally results in enough static electricity being generated to  re-glue them back together again or the bag surreptitiously slides out of the pocket leaving me back at square one with a mittened hand that needs to be pulled off and somehow separate those closed ends in order to pick up the poop.

By now I’m wigged out, sweating like a pig, all the while trying to corral the dogs without being knocked over, bending over the deepest spot of snow Sam could find, while securely holding on to both leashes, the bag, and now a fat mitten. And just for giggles, the hat has slid down over my eyes. How am I supposed to reposition the hat with those stupid mittens on? Could it possibly get any better?

So yeah, dressing for success in the winter time during cold spells isn’t exactly my story. Mittens, smittens. Blech! Juggling is apparently my new hobby this winter.

How do you ‘dress for success?’ Do you have challenges with waste bags?

Life, love, bark!

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56 thoughts on “Winter Hobby

  1. Jodi Stone

    Dear lord, I think we’re sisters.LOL I used to have this problem too. What I do is crinkle up the bags inside the house and shove in a pants pocket. I don’t get static for some reason. Maybe that’s because I keep my house so cold. LOL THEN I dress lightly, unless it’s super cold out. I have flannel lined pants, winter boots and a three season jacket. Sometimes I’m cold when walking Sampson, because he is a slower walker and a BIG sniffer, but I call him the warm-up. By the time I get to Delilah, there are days I’m sweating like a whore in church. The other thing I do, which may not work for you, is I wear those very cheap, stretchy gloves, and shove my hands in my jacket pocket. If you were to get a leash doubler, it might possibly help. I would suggest (since you are retired) to try maybe walking each one individually at least occasionally, that way you can work them both, and you also get walks where you have a wee bit of sanity.

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      LOL I.am.still.laughing. Sweating like a whore in church. Thank you, Jodi. I really needed that today! In fact, I’m laughing so hard, I’m gonna remember than when I’m walking because it really got me warmed up. Apparently fat jiggling has that effect. Who knew?!

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  2. Michael (GoldenKali.com)

    LOL😂😂😂. Although we don’t have the extreme elements you as a suburban transplant to the mountains I feel your pain. It takes me much longer to get out for a walk with Kali. I have to (gasp) actually put on shoes and a jacket – so long to suburbia and hello Golden K. But we love it!

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  3. Ecohug

    Thank you for bringing us some laughter and smiles with this wonderful post as we read and imagined you and your dogs getting ready for the snow. Boy, it sounds tough! We can only imagine and then you have to take it all off! Since we are in California, the most effort we have to put in during our “cold” weather is some jackets or sweaters (more like 2 jackets for Charlie as he is always cold) and we are out the door. But booties, dressing the dogs and dressing yourself and picking up poop while wearing mittens! OH Boy! Glad it is warming up a bit!

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  4. My Golden Life

    I take the dogs out in the back yard, ask Ducky to sit/wait, unclip her leash and let her run around the yard. (Shadow, being a good girl ALL the time, only has to be on the leash if there’s a lot of snow/ice. In which case I take them out separately.)

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      Good for you guys! We really don’t have a back yard, more like a long dog run. Walks are critical for potty breaks and exercise. We are killing two birds with one stone on our walks. But bad weather and poop bags don’t lend themselves to easy living. 😉

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  5. Nylabluesmum

    Oh Monika I feel your pain!!! I totally agree getting thru Winter is a ‘juggling act’; no doubt about it!!!
    I only have Siddhartha henry; a 12 lb cat to get ready & I go thru the same routine as you! I found it better to put his harness on 1st, followed by his Sherpa jacket. I have my coat/earmuffs/gloves nearby so I can slip the muffs & coat on. I wait until I am outside to put gloves/mitts on. By the time I have done all this & carried the ‘littul Purrince’ to bare concrete he is ready to run back to apartment. I do not have to struggle with the poo bags; however my friend Marilyn can be seen goin thru the same thing as you trying to pick up Missy’s deposit. She stands away from Marilyn pretending she did not do the deposit….
    My idea for keeping the bag easy to open: a little Vaseline on the inside rims of bag. Would that work???
    Thank you for a funny blog at your own expense!!!! Good luck with the doggie manoveurs…..
    (((hugs))) Sherri-Ellen & **paw patsss** Siddhartha Henry xxxx

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  6. christycaplan (@christycaplan)

    I think you literally read my mind – I’m not kidding. I posted on WW a picture of the PILE of dog gear on the floor. I have on two pairs of leggings which is now my uniform. I also cannot open the poop bags with my gloves on and cannot see through the hat and scarf wrapped around my head and face. The dogs hate it and I HATE it. 🙂 This was a great timely post that made me feel better – thank you.

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  7. Idaho PugRanch

    OMD! sorry but you had mom giggling at the picture you painted. We were going to suggest the wet finger but someone already did. this has to be the worst winter we have had in years.
    After a little warm up with rain and now snow again we are supposed to be back to 1 below by Thursday. I finally understand why a lot of retirees go south for the winter. Me and the pugs have had enough
    hugs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

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  8. edgar62

    Sounds like the Ninja is living up to her name. My bags come in rolls and since I never experience your degree of cold, I have no problem tearing them off the roll and opening them. At the moment my difficulty is keeping two dogs still whilst I do all this. Still (Oh Joy!) Yogi goes home in three days and it will just be me and Benji going out. Our only concern is waiting until the sun has gone down and avoid the heat before we brave the world.

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      All the rolls I have lately are hard to remove from the dispenser and harder to separate. Probably just Murphy’s Law. Oh and yes, the Ninja would have been the ‘pawfect’ name for Elsa. Try to stay cool and enjoy a beach walk for us.

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  9. Amy

    Why not just use the grocery plastic bags (doubled) that your purchases come in when you forget your ecologically responsible cloth bags? Alternately, perhaps put a kleenex inside the bags that you have pre-opened. You can always pull out the tissue before using and use them again. Let me know if any of this is helpful. 🙂

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      I like that tissue idea! Plastic bags aren’t given out at the grocery store we shop at anymore and since I have a ton of reusable ones (even carry a couple in my purse at all times) so it doesn’t matter from a shopping standpoint. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  10. lapaylor

    That’s exactly how we do it so I think you’re doing it alllllll right.
    What fun to read a story I could have written if I were as funny as you. Makes me wonder if I can handle two poodles at one time though. For two weeks I took care of Cole’s good friend Sydney who was a heftie aussie. She pulled non stop. Cole would stop when he finally found the perfect spot, Sydney kept on going. Struggle. When she found the spot, unfortunately Cole was VERY interested in her imput (output) so I had to keep him back while I used the glued together baggie. Add in mittens and you go nutso.

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  11. alexalily

    ok color me lazy but we get alot of wind here. when its gusty and cold i just attach lily to a long lead that is attached to the porch. the wind doesn’t bother her at all while i feel it blowing right through me no matter how warm i dress. the yard cleanup comes later. as for the plastic bags i also spit on my fingers. it usually works. as for lily she walks away from it and then i put her in a sit stay.
    there have been quite a few days this winter where all i needed was a heavy sweater with a fleece hoodi, fleece sweatpants, leg warmers and thick gloves. lily is always ready to go with her thick winter coat. we call it her floofie look.

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  12. colinandray

    Yes…….. take your mitts off and wet your finger ends (lick fingers directly or, if not so inclined, lick something else and wet your fingers from that source). Grab the bag opening with a finger on each side and move them sideways. There should be enough friction created between your fingers and the bag to separate the opening. “Wet” is important as “damp” may not work! Of course your hands will be freezing by the time the whole cycle is complete!

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  13. tippysmom2

    I’m sorry, but I had to laugh at the picture you paint with your words. I really have no helpful words either. I am fortunate to live where I do, in a rural area, so I don’t have to worry about picking up Tippy’s deposits, which she normally does in the neighbor’s cow pasture. Who cares if there is a little dog poo in with all of the cow poo?

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  14. M.

    Ack! I have nothing to offer – I was going to say we try to prep the poop bags ahead of time but once they are loosened I don’t seem to have trouble with them re-sticking, even with layers of fleece. I’m sorry!!!

    I also layer up – but I have a tendency to be cold in the winter even if I am moving. Why I live in the Northeast, I don’t know. Perhaps, instead of fleece pants, try some lighter weight leggings under jeans/cords/work pants. And gloves, no mittens. Unless you get the kind that switch to the fingerless gloves inside. Picking up poop is so much faster.

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      Must be static from the nylon jacket that creates the ‘glue’ sealing them again. I have to dress warmly at the onset or I’d freeze before getting rolling. When it’s 10 degrees, the blood doesn’t flow so well. I tried a pair of those fingerless gloves-they were worse than the mittens. My hands get so freaking cold, I need the warmth or the walks aren’t as long as the fur-kids and me like, need or are used to. We’re I’m praying for Spring as our alternative. 😉

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  15. Cristina Crawford

    What a howling good read! Yes to being poop-bag challenged. Even with gloves (versus mittens) I huff and puff whilst using (only on occasion, I promise) an expletive… or two. I wind up throwing them off in exasperation. And, I was an abysmal failure at trying to get ONE Poodle into boots…let alone TWO. It’s an aerobic sport for sure. So you deserve a medal for that alone! BTW, Wowza on the winter wonderland watercolor scene; beautiful! Alas, I haven’t got a creativity gene in my body but I so appreciate art in all forms. Have a terrific Tuesday.

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      Aw yes, the flying expletives during these sessions. Know them all too well! It’s funny because the ‘walking’ part goes smoothly with multiples. It’s when we stop that all bets are off and everything turns helter-skelter. 😉

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  16. easyweimaraner

    mittens are the equipment what never works when we have to hold a leash… the next option is to wear gloves, but you end with frozen fingers… I dislike winter, it is such a challenge to wear 87 clothing-skins like an onion and to put all that stuff off and on… I wish we had such a cocoon around us , lightweighted and filled with hot air so we could wear a shirt and jeans or our pj while our pups have to write pee-mails…

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      My winter cocoon would have a small heater and a nice glass of wine while I’m at it! Sam seems to think writing pee mails should be like re-writing War & Peace than just dashing off a quick ‘hi, how are you?!’

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  17. Genevieve Petrillo

    Mom gets me all into my coat and boots, and then she layers up. She can work our door with her gloves on, so that helps. She has good luck with opening the poop bag sticking her hand inside, shaking it around, and then rolling it up and putting it into her pocket. She also tells me the word, “STAY,” so she can pick up the poop. I WANT to get away from it, but stay is stay, so I have to wait till she’s ready. Ugh.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      Once I can get the ends separated, things go better. It’s separating those ends that flummoxes me with the statically charged plastic. I try to roll the end against my fingers to get them to budge but they are as strong as Gorilla Glue. Argh!!!!!

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      1. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy

        I use a similar method – open them up and turn them inside out while still inside. I usually open a couple for Choppy, just in case we need more than one. Then I stick them in my pocket and we’re good to go. I also wear gloves under my mittens, because it is hard to use the bags with mittens. That way, I don’t have to get cold hands, but I still get to wear my (much warmer than gloves) mittens.

        Liked by 1 person

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