Life With a Springer Spaniel – Snout in the Snow

dogs, Life With a Springer Spaniel

I will never forget the Beast from the East of March 2018.

The last time I ever saw Ireland in heavy snow, was 2010, when I was in my Junior Cert and had to spend my time checking for assigned work online. That was not fun, I’m sure a lot of students agree with me on that!

At the time, I didn’t really pay much attention to the upcoming storm. It was middle of my final year of college, my mind was focused on upcoming assignments, work, and exams. That Tuesday evening, I spent my afternoon at a dance class, when I saw the first signs of snow. Still, I ignored it, spending a couple of hours in the college library before returning to my house share for the night. Well, by morning, I couldn’t ignore it any longer when I woke up, looked out the window and saw the vast winter wonderland in front me. I was gobsmacked.

Walking through the Beast from the East. (Credit: Eidhne Gallagher)

When it was confirmed that college was closed for the rest of the week, I packed my bags and was lucky to catch a bus back to Monaghan. If there was going to be a storm, I might as well endure it with my family.

Looking back on it, I knew I had made the right decision, because when I woke up the next morning, the snow had changed from a sheet to a blanket. I had to wear three layers of clothing because it was so cold! We had to stay inside and try and stay warm as much as possible. Nobody wanted to go outside.

Actually, that’s a lie. The only person who wanted to go outside was Murphy.

Murphy had never seen snow before. When I went downstairs for breakfast, instead of sitting on the couch, Murphy would be standing by the window, watching the little white tufts falling from the sky, fascinated as to why the world was covered in white. He really wanted to go outside and explore this new wonder. Wanting to give my parents a break from taking him out, I wrapped up and went out with my dog.

Because the snow was so heavy, it was too dangerous for any cars to be about. This turned out to be an advantage for Murphy as there was no need for him to be leashed up to go out. For the first time in a long time, he was free to go about as he pleased.

I stood in my wellington boots, ankle-deep in snow, watching Murphy jump about in the snow. He sniffed around, oblivious to the cold air around us. I had to laugh as he ran about happily, making little pawprints behind him.

The two of us walked down the road from my house. It was strange to be taking Murphy out without a lead, and not to see any cars about. Despite the multiple layers I was wearing, it was freezing cold, so I had no intentions of staying out too long.

Murphy had other ideas.

He found himself sniffing around a nearby field, where cows would normally graze. Normally, he’s not allowed to go into that field, for fear of disturbing the cows, but thankfully on this day, they had been rounded up and taken away to shelter. So my little pup was happily sniffing the manure hiding under the white snow, when I called him to move on.

I decided to be mean, and play a little trick on him. Murphy loves playing fetch, especially with my father’s multiple golf balls. Whenever we take him outside to play, we always make sure to have at least five balls nearby so he could play with them. While Murphy walked down the road, I gathered up some snow and shaped it into a ball. I was going to see if Murphy could tell the difference between a golf ball and a snow ball.

I flung the snowball and he just took off after it. Being so used to hard little golf balls, Murphy was perplexed when this ball crumbled into a heap. His reaction was so funny, I couldn’t help laughing at his confusion. Yes, it was a little bit mean to him, but at least it made for an amusing Instagram video!

By that point, even Murphy had decided it was too cold to carry on, so the two of us headed back home. I was glad to get out of the cold; I was frozen to the point where I had nearly become a human ice-lolly! Still, it was worth it to let Murphy enjoy his first experience with snow. He really loved it.

Maybe that’s why whenever we take him out now, he looks up at the sky. I think he’s begging for the snow to come back again!

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