Though winter doesn’t officially start until next month, weather-wise we’ve kicked off the season here in Oregon. How do I know this? Partly because I fall asleep to the sound of rain drops on my roof more nights than not. Partly because I need an extra layer of clothes when I go out for a walk or run in my neighborhood. But mostly because my dog, Riley, stealthily avoided the open sliding glass door that leads to the backyard this morning, opting instead to go downstairs and poop in the basement.
As much as I hate to admit it, this was pretty much my fault. I let my guard down. I wasn’t ready to accept the fact that I had entered the time of year that requires me to be vigilant about things like making sure Riley actually goes outside when I tell him to. He doesn’t like rain, cold, or getting his feet wet. I don’t like those things either, but I have the luxury of indoor plumbing and sometimes forget how hard this can be on my furry guy. Now that my head is back in the game, I’ll be sure to see that he actually heads outside to the grass, and reward him with encouraging words and a dry towel upon his return to the house.
This event got me thinking about winter in general. As mentioned, Riley doesn’t enjoy being out in the rain so while I do take him for daily walks year-round, I also look for ways to entertain him in the house when the weather is bad. His favorite indoor activity is playing hide-n-seek. He doesn’t hide. He only seeks. I stuff myself into one of the several hiding places I’ve identified around the house, then he tears from room to room trying to find me. From one of my hiding spots, I can clearly see into the kitchen. For reasons that remain unclear to me, Riley always looks for me in the kitchen sink. He gets up on his hind legs and peaks in every time he goes by. I’ve never once hid in the sink (not even the best diet plan in the world would reduce me to a size that would make this possible). He absolutely loves playing this game, despite the fact that my 700 square foot house only allows for a few good hiding places.
I’m curious what games you play with your pets. When the weather turns bad, what indoor activities do you do to keep them exercised and engaged? It looks like it’s going to be a long winter in Oregon, and I’d love some more ideas!