The Snow Atop McKinley

I feel a snort. A wet misting of doggie mucus slightly scented with Eukanuba and a deer carcass that McKinley happened upon on the trail the day before. As I was unresponsive to the canine hydrating-facial-mist, my aging Siberian husky stepped up his game a bit. Sitting back on his haunches (this I glimpsed from a semi-open eye) I received a shrill “wuff!” followed by his signature jaw smack which means, “I mean business!”

At this point, I relented, resigning myself that today I would wake at 5:30. It was, after all, the first snowfall of the year. Siberian Huskies have a special sense about this. MK had been snug in his doggie bed snoring the night away… and then as if by some means of Yoda-like intuition, he knew that it was time to play in the snow. RIGHT NOW!

After I opened the breezeway door he contorted himself into the half-jump/half-crouch position necessary to exit the doggie-door as quickly as possible. I spied him out of the window doing his “rodeo moves” in the fresh snow, which generally consist of a lot of rump-bucking, nose-digging, and spine-scratching. If there is one thing that makes my ten-year-old doggie happier than unattended ribeyes, it’s snow.

Just as the leaves change color in preparation for winter, McKinley changes his nose color in preparation for all of the backcountry skiing he will partake in. Usually his nose is charcoal black, very cute, very moist, very perfect. However, around November or December MK decides that Rudolf shouldn’t have ALL the fun. His honker sheds its black veneer in favor of a large pink stripe down the middle that gradually spreads across the width of his nose.

Additionally, McKinley (known among friends as the fanciest metrosexual puppy this side of the Mississippi) has been known to trade in his Tempurpedic pet bed for curling up (tail over nose) in the middle of a snowstorm on a patch of frozen dirt. Normally my well-conditioned pup wouldn’t dream of sullying his shiny coat with outdoor “contaminants.” However, his zeal for snow and winter keep him out there hour after hour as the snow piles up on his thick coat.

If there is a doggie heaven, MK is certain that it’s a never-ending backcountry ski run: perfect pitch, an ideal six or seven inches of fresh powder, leaving his mark through my s-turns into eternity. If McKinley were a real person, he’d be the crusty tele-skier strolling into the bars at 8 pm (still donning duct-taped T1s) after 10 hours and 7,000 vertical feet of skinning. With a smile on his face. He loves it THAT much.

So, this winter, if you see an aging husky pass you on the skin track with unbridled glee and sporting a bright pink nose, give my little McKinley a scratch (or a ribeye). Dogs love winter, too.