Something that I have in common with my two aussiedoodles is my thick curly black hair. Like them, I winced and flinched as my mom pulled a comb through my tangles and snarls. The thing about curly hair is its tendency to snare debris, be it leaves, gum, mud, or snow. This happened when I played in the snow as a child.
Romping around in the crunchy cold banks was a real treat for a California girl who never woke up to her mom announcing, “Snow day! School is cancelled!” If we wanted to see snow then we had to pack up the car, bring tire chains, and head up into the Sierra Nevada mountains. I can remember playing outside my grandfather’s house next to Lake Tahoe. We’d be out for so long that my mittens were soaked through and my wool hat had slipped off. As a result of making snow angels or a snowball fight, my ringlets got clumped with snow clods. We deposited all of our wet outer clothes at the door, then went into the kitchen for some hot cocoa. My fingers and toes tingled. My chilly red nose would run. My mop of black curls held tightly onto the remnants of our time out in the winter wonderland.
Koda and Summer have been enjoying their first snow. Yesterday it fell all day long, accumulating around twelve inches of white fluffy stuff. The first time they walked outside they immediately plunged their noses deep into the snow, then lifted their white bearded muzzles up to the sky. The tall dogs that they are, they had no problem navigating the thick depth across the lawn. In leaps and bounds they frolicked around one another. In less than five minutes their black fur was draped in white dreads. As any concerned mother would, I limited them to a short playtime for fear of frostbite on their paws.
We have nailed down the routine for bringing the pups in from the rain, one at a time, my big rag mitts ready, they step inside onto the towel and hold still while I remove the water and mud. I assumed the same routine applied for snow. First pup came in, I peeled off Summer’s Christmas sweater (which happens to be a great winter weather accessory). She stood there on four legs that each were caked with tight snow clods. My efforts to brush off the snow were ineffective. The more I squeezed at the icy chunks they icier they became. Meanwhile Koda is standing outside waiting his turn. Needless to say, it was my first lesson with aussiedoodles and snow.
What I learned is that there is no easy way to remove the snow from these curly-haired dogs, instead they just need a little time and a warm space to melt the clinging snow. It cannot be rushed. After a bit of time they finally dry off and are tuckered out from all of the snow play and nap for awhile. I use towels to clean up the wet floor, hang their damp Christmas sweaters and my mitts. Just when everything has dried off and is clean, Koda is at the door wanting to go back out for more snow play.