The Hobbit Feet of Winter

Our sweet Shadow’s ancestry is uncertain – she adopted us – but one thing is for sure, she most definitely has in her mixed lineage a breed that is adapted for winter survival. As the weather gets colder she develops a thick warm undercoat which enables her to do what she loves to do in winter – lie out in the snow. The first snow of winter she will rush outside as excited as either of the children and delight in rolling in the snow making doggie snow angels. As winter progresses she will adopt a snow bank and make it her sentry post, keeping a wary eye open for foxes, mountain lions, and other interlopers who would dare to step onto her turf. She has been known to lie all day on her snow bank waiting for Bob to return from a trip, ignoring all invitations and pleas to come back inside.

She also develops what the children delight in calling “Hobbit feet”. As the days shorten, the fur between her toes begins to lengthen, until by around Christmas time it sits in long tufts on the front of her paws, reminiscent of Tolkein’s description of Hobbits’ feet “clad in a thick curling hair”.

In the summer everything changes, she sheds her undercoat in voluminous amounts, making me wish either she had a paler coat or I had darker carpets, and when we return from spring break the place where we board her has usually trimmed her Hobbit feet back to regular doggie paws as part of her pre-pickup wash and blow-dry. Summer gives her other areas of the property to patrol, and the deck to lie on with the breeze catching her fur to cool her as she keeps a watchful eye over her domain. But I truly think she is happiest in winter.


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