However, cold morning or not, the dogs and I went outside to check the yard, and plug in the car so J can go downtown to have lunch with a friend. (Why anyone would want to go anywhere in this temperature is beyond me. But, well. . . .) Block heaters are amazing things for helping your car's engine to start on a very cold day. Even if you just plug the heater in for an hour or so.
Oh. The dogs? Well, since you asked. . . .
Please allow me to introduce Shadow.
He is named that because, wherever you go, he goes too. Just like a shadow. So I think that name suits him well. The minute I sit down in my chair to read, he's sitting or lying down at my feet. He won't necessarily stay there, but he never goes far. (He's sleeping at my feet right now.) I just have to make sure I don't step on him when I get up.
And this is Salsa.
I don't know how she got her name. She has a bit of trouble hearing, so hand signals work best with her. She likes to sleep in closed-in spaces, where (I guess) she feels well protected. Safe.
They are both very quiet dogs. When I prepared lunch, they are right there at my feet, watching, silently. They seem to think that, if it hits the floor, it's theirs.
And how did we get two beautiful Shelties (Shetland Sheepdogs)? Some friends are going to be away for a few days, so they left their dogs with us.
They think we are doing them a favour. Actually, it is the other way around. These two are my "dog therapy," or therapy dogs, or whatever. That's not a joke.
There is a growing body of research that shows having a dog around is good for your health. I have read about it in the medical reports and journals I get. Petting a dog will lower your blood pressure, make you feel more calm and relaxed, help you get out for a walk in the "fresh" air, etc. This also seems to be true of horses. (Cats? Don't ask.) So they are particularly helpful for people, and Bears, with many mental health issues. A colleague of mine, a counsellor, takes her dog to work, and allows her clients to interact with the dog. She thinks the people do better because of the dog.
Phone just rang; I got up to answer it. Shadow came with me; Salsa kept sleeping. Now I'm back, and Shadow has ultimately gone to sleep by the door. I don't know why there; perhaps he is just a "cool" dog.
Anyhow, our animal ethics committee at the university approved a project for dogs to come on campus during exam time in April. That was at our meeting on Wednesday — two days ago. Yes, this is ethical treatment of specially-trained dogs in a well-supervised situation. We also think it will be a good thing for students, particularly first-year students who are away from home. Help them to deal with year-end jitters, and the like.
Anyhow, I have my own therapy dogs for a while. And I feel better with them around. Much better, really. I think one would be enough, but them come as a pair, so this is dandy. I'll tell you more about them, anon.
I think this is going to be a good weekend! I can feel it already!
Blessings and Bear hugs, friends.
Currently (noon), -27 (or -17F), but the wind chill goes to -40 (same in both languages). Tonight, -52 (-62F, if your thermometer doesn't break!). A bit cooler than usual.