Letters – Spring 2009

In your Summer 2008 issue Dr. Liz Layne has an excellent article on preventing heat exhaustion in pets. Then Mike England undoes all the good she did in his sidebar about the To-Go Bowl. He says, "Now [that you've installed the bowl in your car's cup holder] you can take your time at the coffee shop instead of imagining your furry friend keeled over from heat stroke." Wrong! You should never, NEVER leave your pet in the car on a hot, or even a warm, day, water or no water. Dr. Layne points out that "heat exhaustion and dehydration are different, but for the average pet owner they are the same." That is not true in a very hot car, where temperatures can rise well beyond anything a bowl of drinking water can correct. So take your pet home first. His or her well-being is more important than your leisurely cup of coffee!

Damon D. Hickey, PhD
Wooster, Ohio

Well, I certainly didn’t mean to imply that it was okay to leave one’s dog unattended in a closed car in the summer heat. I assumed people would know to follow some common-sense rules of responsible pet care: Always leave your windows down, park in the shade whenever possible, and check in on your pooch from time to time. As for taking your pet home first: this is Bozeman, our dogs go where we go. —M.E.

I'm visiting family in Bozeman for Thanksgiving and the weather is great. With high expectations of riding with some of Bozeman's bike groups I emailed the various Bozeman bike clubs, checked their web forums, and even called one of Bozeman's finest bicycle shops to get info on when the groups would be going out. Much to my amazement, I've been told and emailed that no one's riding anymore, the weather's too cold.

Too cold for riding? Are you serious, Bozeman? Just today—with high's in mid-40s—I was told by the local bike shop that this "recent drastic change in temperature" meant that no one would be riding any more this season. (And, yes, that's an actual quote.)

In contrast, the bike clubs in Spokane are still scheduling rides, still posting last-minute rides, and won't let even single-digit temperatures put a damper our two-wheeled fun, road or mountain.

Bozeman cyclists, I’m calling you out: What a bunch of fair-weather sissies. And while you can try to claim that "all your buddies are out skiing" (a quote from the one-and-only cyclist I've passed on the roads in over 80 miles of riding by myself all weekend) there's barely a dusting of snow on any mountain.

Seriously doubting Bozeman's tough-guy image,

Alan Jacob
Spokane, Washington

I saw at least dozen road bikers out the Sunday following Thanksgiving, including a mixed-gender pack of six. Maybe Bozeman cyclists just don't want to ride with Spokane sissies. —M.E.

I share Britta Caldwell's disdain for winter (“Confessions of a Winterphobe,” Winter 2008-09), but with a slightly southern twist. I own a small piece of property just over the hill in the Shield's River Valley near Wilsall. I bought this land because I hate winter—Georgia winter, that is. I live just outside of Atlanta.

Georgia winters suck. They don't have the fresh, pristine, powdered-sugar white that blankets Montana. They're brown. They're unpredictable. Sometimes we get thunderstorms; rarely do we get snow. Our snow amounts to a light coating on the grass—just enough to snarl traffic and send the panicked masses to the store for bread and milk. (I'm a pizza and beer gal, myself.)

A Georgia snowman usually has more pine straw sticking out of it than snow. I hosted a holiday party at my home the weekend before Christmas. To add ambiance to the occasion, I had roaring fires going in my living room and kitchen fireplaces. The only problem was it was 70 muggy degrees outside. We had to open the windows and turn on the air conditioner.

Every day, I visit the various Bozeman-area web cams to marvel at the frozen white landscape. I also frequent the weather.com website to get the latest updates: 10 below, blowing wind, ground blizzards. I sweat with envy. I guess for both Britta and myself it's a case of you want what you don't have.

For those wondering if I could endure a Montana winter, I bought that little piece of heaven during the winter some years back and signed the papers on a day it went to -32 degrees. I can't wait to be there permanently.

As for Georgia, if you think our winters are lousy, you should be here in July.

Theresa Schrum
Suwanee, Georgia

Don’t want to burst your bubble, but February in Bozeman was more like the Georgia weather you’ve described. Let’s hope for a colder, snowier spring. We hope you’re able to make the move here soon, and don’t worry about being scoffed at for your Georgia roots—anyone who can sign her name to a deed when it’s 32 below is a Montanan in our book. —Editors