Friday 30 Sep 2016

Chilly Dog
AJ Robinson

Note the spelling on that, it was chilly not chili. It is now winter here in Florida. I know those two words seem at odds with each other: Florida and winter, but we do get winter down here; it is just that it’s a bit different from most of the country. These days, what with the polar vortex, winter is short but incredibly intense. For us, it’s the same, and we do get the occasional cold day. Of course, our cold is typically in the 1940s or maybe the 1930s, so it’s nowhere near as bad as most of the country gets.


Florida isn't always warm and sunny.

Still, it does get cold and that’s where this story begins. You see our dog Juliet does not do well with the cold. That might sound strange; after all, she’s a dog, she has plenty of fur. It’s not as if she’s one of those hairless breeds. No, she has a good decent coat. Ah, but you see, she’s a Florida dog; so, she doesn’t care for lower temperatures. As far as she’s concerned, she’s kind of like Heat Miser in that old television special “The Year without a Santa Claus.” She never wants to know a day that’s less than sixty degrees.

Just the other day, when we had one of our wintry dips into the low temperatures, I saw just how important warmth is to her. It was late in the day, and she needed her afternoon walk. I snapped her leash on and we went out the door.


Buildings in our housing complex are good windbreakers.

Now, our complex has two rings of buildings, one near the lake and then the outer edge out near the fence. These buildings provide excellent windbreakers. As we strolled along, keeping close to the buildings of the inner ring, which afforded Juliet some nice grass areas to sniff at and do her “business.”

Then we came to one of the small open areas between two of the buildings. This particular one was her favorite, for a couple reasons. First off, it was very big and green, which she liked as it gave her room to run around. Second, it gave her access to the lake area, one of her favorite places to sniff and run. More importantly, she walkrf right under the apartment of a yappy little dog. She so loved to leisurely stroll back and forth under his windows; I could almost see the smug smile on her face as she tormented him.


Juliet almost visibly shrunk when the cold wind hit her.

On this day, she didn’t do that. No, as she raced toward the lake, coming out from behind the protection of the building, the icy wind hit her. I laughed. I could almost see her shrink and reduce down. She stopped dead in her tracks, her ears went down and she pulled her legs in as much as she could. Her head whipped around, she looked at me, and an instant non-verbal communication pass to me.

“OMG, it’s cold out here!”

I could see it written across her face. She then retreated to the area protected from that brutal wind. I followed, chuckling all the way. It seemed Juliet was a true Florida dog.

I also think the fact that she’s getting on in years is a contributing factor. She’s an older dog now. I think her old bones don’t care for the low temperatures.

After that, she stayed out of the wind and I kept close to her. Over the years, I’ve had several dogs, a couple of them in Florida, but they always seemed able to handle the cold weather. Juliet can’t. The poor dear is definitely not a winter dog. Since then, anytime the weather turns cold, her walks are always brief.

I can’t help but chuckle at the sight of her shivering at what passes for “low temperatures” here in Florida. You’d think a dog with a nice thick coat could take it. No, Juliet is a pure Florida dog and I’m sure she likes it that way.


Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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