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Winter, the way we know it, arrived this past week.  Temperatures have been below zero with the infamous “Feels Like” reflecting in the -25+ range.   The dog coats and scarves were dug out.  I brought out the boots too but those are counterproductive in bitter cold weather.  Neither Holly nor Helen want to move when they have them on and not moving in frigid temps is not what you want to have happen.  It’s hard to differentiate between a stubborn boot protest and a frozen state of stupor, either way it is you going out in the cold to snap them out of it so they can get back inside safely.   Holly can handle the cold much better than Helen.  Holly will do her snow skimming drills and grab a toy for a few laps around the yard, then when the cold sinks in she does a mad dash to the back steps sliding to a stop right at the door, sometimes miscalculating and slamming into it.  Helen, not so much.  She makes her way down the stairs takes about 3 steps away from the bottom of the stairwell, then squats to potty.  When her job is done, she begins her climb back up the steps but stops halfway and has this confused look as if she suddenly cannot remember how to walk up steps.  I open the door and coax and coax, being a cheerleader to try to boost her courage and keep her focused on her goal.  She makes it into the house and races to the living room feeling the warmth of the house and seemingly proud of herself for conquering her frozen fear.

The nights have been spent playing games, practicing commands, working on treat toys and learning patience.  We’ve had some earlier bed times and one thing I’ve noticed is that regardless of how restless and playful Holly is downstairs, once she has her teeth brushed and it is time to go to bed – she is down for the count.  Upstairs is for quiet time and resting.  Downstairs is for games, eating and drinking.  And outside is for running, racing and wrestling.   Lessons in balance, by Holly Dolly!