When Koops and I moved north from the Gulf Coast, we did so with visions of rich, multi-hued autumns and pristine white winters. And while autumn in Northeast Alabama did not disappoint, winter...well, I won’t sugarcoat it — winter had been phoning it in.
So when snow flurries showed up in Mobile’s forecast last week — after I’d spent two winters studying up on space heaters and touch-screen compatible gloves without so much as a heavy frost to show for it — believe me when I say the fit I pitched put the K-Kids’ bathtime rants to shame.
Of course, we all know how this story ends. I woke up Tuesday to a long-awaited winter wonderland — 60 hours, 11 squeaker toys and one late-afternoon hike for dog food and Eggos (in the snow ... uphill both ways), and I’m miraculously cured of my cold weather envy.
Koopa and Kollee’s winter wonder seems to be sufficiently appeased as well. To be fair, that could have something to do with the eight outdoor photo shoots they were forced to sit for by their Instagram-happy mother, no less than five of which took place in their snow-covered adventure field where, let’s face it, there are like 12,000 better things to be doing than posing for pictures.
But some of the blame sits squarely on Koopa’s delicate sensibilities, which in this case refers to his paws’ curious tolerance to snow exposure. Curious in that he seems all but oblivious when free to sniff, dig and pounce his way across the icy terrain unimpeded. But leave the leash on too long or, heaven forbid, pull out a camera phone — suddenly he’s on tiptoe, eyes glued to the ground, lifting each paw in turn out of the bitter death grip I’ve heartlessly subjected him to (I know, kid’s got it rough).
Meanwhile, Kollee — my gorgeous girl who doesn’t go anywhere that she’s not the center of attention, from canines and humans alike — you’d think would be the prima donna, but I doubt if Kirby Smart could slow down that little spitfire. With his 2011 lineup — before the draft.
Now don’t misunderstand, Kollee is not invincible — she only thinks she is. And some of Koopa’s, um ... quirks, are quite real. I know his focused stare and no-fuss, no-muss coat make him look like a real dog’s dog. But underneath all that short black fur is chronically dry skin for which we’ve only recently found an effective solution (FYI, Thursdays are hot oil treatment day at Piper’s — free with any bath package).
So when I looked out my bedroom window Tuesday, my initial reaction (a distinctly girly and, as it turned out, utterly naive squeal of delight) was immediately followed by a sinking realization that the furkids were in no way prepared to face the blanket of winter weather awaiting us.
My next thought was one I’ve had a thousand times over the last few years: For the love of dog, what did we do before Pinterest??
A quick search of this most bright and beckoning corner of the Web gave me a promising selection of pins for no-sew DIY dog sweaters, almost all of which were variations on the same idea: Upcycle an old sweater or sweatshirt, using the sleeve as the body of your dog’s new winter jacket.
All I needed was an old sweater (check), pair of scissors (check), and a dog with a chest roughly the size of my arm (... crap).
However, with Kollee’s “I’m-so-so-so-so-so-happy-you’re-awake-now-let’s-go-pee” dance urging me on, I realized all I really needed was a tube of warm fabric. My first impulse was to head to Center of Hope for an XXL Hanes sweatshirt. But the sheets of ice covering every road in between seemed problematic so I used the next best thing: an old pair of baggy flannel sleep pants. (Oh, and bonus — they’re polka dot. All dogs look adorable in polka dots.)
From there it was just a matter of snip, snip, snip. I cut the legs off the pants, leaving the cuff so the neckline at least would be hemmed. Then the kids each tried theirs on so I could see where to cut the arm holes and — now this is important — how short to trim the leg so as not to interfere with the various streams and flows that are an integral part of our outdoor excursions.
Nothing kills the buzz of a successful Pinterest project like a little dog pee.
Find this and other DIY projects for pet parents at www.pinterest.com/starfeatures.