Thanks to winter storm Nemo, over 24" of pretty glorious fresh powder fell on Boston Friday night. It was a proper blizzard, with clapbord-rattling wind and impressive drifts. The city, erring on the side of prevention, shut down public transit and enforced a 24-hour driving ban - effectively creating a blustery ghost town, with only the occassional public works pick-up sloppily shoving through the accumulation. By morning, the main streets had been reasonably maintained, but just about everything else (parked cars, sidewalks, front yards, back decks and garden gnomes) was positively burried. Some sidestreets had yet to see any kind of plow. For this Vermonter, the morning brought with it a wonderland.
Oscar quite obviously dissagreed with my enthusiasm.
But the Beast was a sweet-faced trooper and trotted along with his pack as we skiied our way through the kingdom, admiring the magnificence of the occassion.
For all his weight and serious-ness, Oscar is not a terrible toughie. Maybe I had something to do with that, though I get a sense the Ridgeback breed is rife with divas. On top of an embarassing sensitivity to wet feet, and disgust at any amount of precipitation blowing into his eyes, the Beast is not well insulated against wind and freezing temps by his tight, short coat; if he's not keeping up a vigorous pace, he gets cold, fast. Fair enough, my boy, fair enough. For this reason, we've got a couple coats in rotation - they don't make a sub-zero day a sauna, but they extend his tolerance long enough for a decent walk.
And not a winter walk goes by that he doesn't get a compliment on his wardrobe...
Years ago I discovered Swedish canine coat company, Obtrack - it was love at first sight of their smart, red-on-black tailoring, and I've been a devotee ever since. Full disclosure - these coats are expensive, and a rip or tear will prompt an appearance by your sewing kit before you reach for your credit card to order a replacement. In my humble opinion, they are also worth every penny. For starters: they fit like nothing else - even with shoulder-drawstring panels, velcro collar tabs, and an adjustable buckle over the back to secure the belly panel, the coats come in 13 sizes! meaning a much more exacting fit for your pup than traditional S, M, L. Also: they're DEAD SEXY. AND: they put up to wear - after 5 years of trail runs, Northeast winters, run-ins with barbed wire fences and wrestling with honest to goodness "animals", Oscar's Skrylle was only just this season replaced. His Rogle will need updating in another year or two, but it's still the snuggly go-to when the Beast spends a chilly day in the studio with me.
I sing Obtrack's praises whenever possible, though I have yet to see a SINGLE dog in person wearing one, or even a distributer (I ordered Oscar's coats direct from the Obtrack online shop). I assume they are more common across Europe... guess for now the brand is just our little not-so-closely-kept secret (Obtack, if you're reading this post - you've found your next US sales rep).
And with Valentine's Day just around the corner, we thought a little blatant brand-love might be apropos: