The ‘dog days of February’ are here

Karen Wils photo Happiness is a beagle in the snow!

ESCANABA — Welcome to the “dog days” of February.

Nothing is as fun and free looking as couple of pups bounding through the fresh and fluffy snow!

A snowfall brings out the puppy in all of us. The U.P. 200 sled dog race (Feb. 16-18), so rugged and so romantic, is fun to see.

The Westminster Kennel Club dog show, featuring some of the most handsome hounds and wonderful working dogs in the world, is one of the most watched dog shows. It is held annually in mid-February.

Several field trials are held in the U.P. in February. It is totally amazing to watch the merry and mighty little beagles propel themselves through the deep snow in search of a snowshoe hare.

Caryl Clemens photo Chocolate lab with nose dipped in snow.

All dogs seem to revert back just a little to their wolfish ancestors when it comes to a stroll in the winter wonderland.

For most dogs, the wintery weather, snow and ice are easier to deal with than extreme heat and humidity. That is why sled dogs run at night and thrive in single digit temperatures.

That’s why our house pets can’t resist the urge to run, romp and roll in the fresh snow.

The “dog days” of February are for watching the dogs on TV and for watching the dogs right here in our neck of the woods. From the Labrador Retrievers scouting out the ice with their owners, looking for a good spot to fish, to the sweater-wearing poodle prancing in the park, winter dogs are fun to watch.

The Jack Russel terrier zigs and zags down the hill tagging after the kids in the sled. They’re his kids, and he will meet them at the bottom of the hill with face kisses and tail wags.

Jim Rose photo Ambo the collie catches a snowball.

The Golden Retriever, the perfect companion dog, cross-country skis without skis. She faithfully hikes alongside her mistress through the snow drape conifers and across the farm field.

All dogs, big and small, need some fresh air and exercise in the winter time. The neat thing about dogs is that they make exercise fun. The Border collie leaps into the air to catch a snowball. The Scottish terrier dances and dashes across the frozen driveway to the car. It’s time to go for a ride!

February blesses Upper Michigan with a few more minutes of daylight each day-perfect for dog walking. There is no better way to start your day than by bundling up and going for a jaunt with Fido. You will feel more focused and alert and your dog beat the winter blues.

If you own a dog, make sure you enjoy some quality winter outdoor time with him. Get the kids and the whole family to go on a hike with you. Warm clothes, good foot gear and a leash and clean-up bag are important items to have before you start.

If you don’t own a dog, watch them go by. See how many breeds you can name. Watch for the best leash manners and listen for the cutest call names.

The blue ribbon show dogs and champion sporting and racing dogs are wonderful, but the very best dog in the world is the one sitting right next to you!

Enjoy the dogs days of February. Go roll in the snow with Spot!