Around this time of year all my brain can focus on is keeping warm and staying sane through the upcoming winter months. The fact that it’s only November and I still have at least four more months of icy wet dreariness ahead of me is not sitting well. Getting up at five-thirty in the morning is never easy, but it’s downright depressing when one is facing a long trudge through cold darkness. I almost dread going home after work just to face the same trudge and the same cold and the same darkness all over again.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a little lacking in holiday spirit over here.
Not to worry, I am sure it isn’t permanent. There are a few things that help me get through this lip-chapping season. Since this is also the time of year people start formulating holiday shopping and wish lists – unless you are a keener and had everything done by October – I thought I would put together a gift guide of sorts for anyone with dog walkers in their social circles. Here are some of the items I would love to discover under the tree.
Yes! They do exist! It is possible to be stylish and warm at the same time. No longer does the dog walker have to give up all vanity as soon as the temperatures fall below zero. Snow pants can now be relegated to the ski hills and long underwear can be cast to the back of the drawer. No dog walker should have to go through winter without a pair or five. They would especially make a great gift for anyone who does agility practice in cold barns over the winter. I am so not looking forward to that again this year.
Totally unsexy, I know. But I swear by the classic green wellies to get me through the season. Chuck in a washable lining and you are set for long walks in the snow or mud. You never have to fear the quasi-frozen puddle again. They do come in some fashionable colours now but I like the $10 men’s varieties for both tread and comfort.
Nothing like coming home from a long winter walk to a mug of hot chocolate. We tend to have a shelf dedicated to the stuff from November to March. You can find it in many different flavours and qualities. For extra bonus points, throw in a bag of marshmallows or a bottle of Bailey’s. Alternatively, you could skip the cocoa altogether and just buy the Bailey’s.
I have been lusting after one of these ever since I saw them in Mark’s Work Warehouse last year. They are so warm that on many milder winter days I could probably get away with leaving my heavy coat at home. With deep pockets for treats and poop bags and cozy hood to keep out the wind, it would make nighttime jaunts with the Shivster a lot more comfortable. The pretty purple colour doesn’t hurt either.
Yeah, I realize socks are kind of a lame holiday gift. Everybody gets them and nobody really wants them. However, I can never seem to have enough pairs of them. Maybe it’s how I walk but very quickly I find holes appearing at my heels. I blame the heavy walking shoes I wear on a regular basis. Am I alone in kind of hoping for several new pairs under the tree? These thermal ones would just be extra special.
Like the cocoa, this is more of an aprés-walk gift but definitely an awesome one. My best friend gave me a goose down blanket several years ago and it is still my go-to for taking off the chill after an outing. Shiva loves it too.
I don’t know about you, but the last thing I feel like doing after tramping around in the snow is coming home to mess around in the kitchen. Slow cookers from what I hear are perfect for easy – and hot – meals that one can prepare without a fuss. People who walk their dogs as much as I do probably don’t have a lot of time on their hands. Once the animals are taken care of they want to relax. It’s easier to do that when dinner is already ready and waiting.
Walking in the dark sucks. And dangerous. Most fun dog walking areas are not equipped with street lights. I guess municipalities assume no one is crazy enough to hit the park before the sun rises in January. Well, dog walkers are and I hate that I am now mostly stuck walking on the boring sidewalk every single day. If I had a light that made it a little safer, I might be able to head into the forest I love so much other times of the year. It would make walking much less of a chore, if nothing else.
Speaking of saftey, and forests, my practically mother-in-law gave me a personal alarm a few years ago that I have started to take with me while I walk the dog in more isolated areas. I’ve never had to use it but I feel more secure in coyote territory now that I have a line of defence. People who walk dogs in similar areas throughout the winter and the approaching mating season, may also appreciate such a gift. It’s small enough to stick in a pocket and easy to use.
Dog Walking Gift Certificates
When all else fails, there is nothing like a night off. Many professional dog walkers offer gift certificates for their services but if you are short on cash and not on love for dogs, why not offer to do the job yourself? I am willing to bet your dog walking friend would be overjoyed at the thought of remaining indoors on a cold night while someone else walks her dog. Bonus points if you are willing to take on an early morning spot too.
If you, like me, are dreading the long walks ahead of you this winter, what gifts would you like to receive? Is there anything I missed? What is on your wish list this year?