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Here in southeastern Pennsylvania we, like most of the northeast, got to experience snowstorm Janus yesterday (joy!) For me, who drives a Mustang, it meant ginger driving, scary slides and kick-outs, traffic, hyper-vigilance as to hills, shoveling, cold feet and a general inconvenience on my life.

To Panzer and Shelby it meant a day of pure bliss.

Snow battleDetermined to enjoy my afternoon with them despite the cold and wet and wind, I braved a trip to the grocery store to get something hot for dinner and then swung by the liquor store to get some internal heating help from my friend Jack Daniels. (side note, I know that drinking doesn’t actually make you warmer and is in fact dangerous in excess). When I got back to the house, I dumped the groceries, poured myself a nice stiff drink and unleashed the hounds.

Snow battle 2We don’t normally let Panzer and Shelby play this hard because of Panzer’s various medical issues, but when the snow comes, we say – game on! Panzer and Shelby live for the snow and these rare days when they get to do what they do best – play hard. So even after being out for over an hour, I still had to essentially drag them in, but their coats were frozen, my drink was frozen, and my camera desperately need to thaw out. When I brought them back in, they both got drinks of warm water, and Shelby promptly passed out. Ha, I felt like saying to her, see you were tired.

Panzer however, hadn’t had enough it seemed. He sat in front of the window and watched it snow while I thawed out and cleaned my camera. So when I was able to feel my extremities again and saw him still sitting there, longingly, I picked my camera back up, grabbed a couple tennis balls, shoved them in my pocket and the two of us went out to play ball.

Panzer charging

It wasn’t long after our ball game started that we got a visit from Maggie, the neighbor’s female lab. Maggie and Shelby don’t get along all that well, but Panzer has fallen in love with her over the last few months. The two of them romped, ball with me all but forgotten. I sat back and watched them play, smiling to myself. Hard to believe this is the same dog.

Panzer and Maggie

Not only did Panzer have a visit from Maggie and Ben, but he went visiting! He invited himself right onto the neighbor’s porch and got head scratches from not only her but about six other kids who were shoveling her driveway. Six children! CHILDREN! And he was completely unfazed by them, believe me I was watching like a hawk for any sign of trouble. But he just trotted up to them like the lab he’s best friends with, sniffed at them and leaned into them for head scratches and pets. While I did tell the kids to make sure to leave his rear end alone (he’s still funny about that), he seemed relatively unworried by them.

I tried not to grind my teeth and pound my drink as I kept a close watch when the shovels started to scrape against the driveway, but Panzer just kept right along, visiting and playing with Maggie. I was standing outside chatting with the neighbor and keeping both eyes on my boy when Joe got home. He walked over and tossed Panzer a ball he’d left discarded in the driveway. Maggie, typical lab that she is, decided it was, in fact, her ball and yanked it right out of Panzer’s mouth and to our amazement, he just walked away!

MaggieEventually, we decided it was time to go in and called Panzer away. He followed us happily, while Joe tossed him another ball he produced from his pocket. He trotted next to us, chewing the ball fervently and Joe looked at me and shook his head incredulously, “I know you’ve been working with him but this is amazing.”

I smiled and shrugged, “He’s just a good boy. And I have worked a lot with him. I knew he’d be fine.” Okay, so maybe that was a little bit of a fib. I had a good idea that he would be okay, but there is always that tiny part of me that can’t help but worry. 

Joe smiled and wrapped his arm around my shoulder as we crossed back into our yard and Panzer bee-lined for the front door, “So if all you’re doing is working for Panzer, what’s wrong with Shelby?”