Dashing through The Snow- Viggo Has a Winter Blast!

Viggo on our street after the snowstorm

Viggo on our street after the snowstorm

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Usually the U.S. wintertime weather forecast sounds like this: “A cold front from Canada is expected to dump five inches of snow on parts of the mid-west overnight, with Nebraska especially hard-hit.”  Well, last night up here in the Great White North we got covered by 15 centimeters of snow from- of all places- the American mid-west.  It was Toronto’s first major snow storm of the winter.

On our morning walk Viggo, of course, was lovin’ it.  It didn’t hurt that everybody else was out too so there was a lot of sniffing and doggie greeting going on.  Here is the new boy on the street, Rapscallion (a “rescue” formerly known as Chico) –

Rapscallion at the end of his walk- and the start of ours

Rapscallion at the end of his walk- and the start of ours

He wasn’t the only one out there. His sidekick, a Basset Hound by the name of  Mr. President,  and Teresa’s eleven-year-old dog Benny, the senior statesdog of the street, popped into the picture with Benny having stuff to say-

Rapscallion, Mr. President, and Benny discussing the state of affairs

Rapscallion, Mr. President, and Benny eyeing each other

Mr. President  wasn’t listening; he made a straight path through the other two dogs, heading right for me and the treat he figured he might get.

Mr. President coming my way

Mr. President coming my way

I am usually good for a nice slice of Rollover or some other decadent treat that his owner doesn’t mind me slipping his way.  Mr. President doesn’t mind either!

incoming missile- Mr. Preisdent honing in on the hand which does not have a camera in it!

Incoming missile!  Mr. President honing in on the hand which does not have a camera in it!

Eventually we made it to the top of our street and crossed Broadview over to the park area.  One problem with winter snow is that the salt trucks are out, dumping their contents all over most of the streets and sidewalks.  Something that dog owners factor in when they plan their nieghbourhood walks is this- “Where is there the least amount of salt?”   Luckily, once we are in the park it is no longer an issue.

dogs in the park enjoying the snow

dogs in the park enjoying the snow

We bump into Clarence, a buddy of Viggo’s since puppy days,  and they do a bit of running around-

Clarence and Viggo in Riverdale Park East

Clarence and Viggo in Riverdale Park East

There are dogs cavorting all over the place- even though it is not really an off-leash area. One of the benefits of snow is that it reduces to almost zero the number of joggers and cyclists.  This means there is less chance of Viggo chasing – though he prefers that we use the term  herding– moving objects.  Unfortunately, snow brings toboggans and moving toboggans are chase-able to an Icelandic sheepdog, at least to this poorly trained one!  But on this hill the toboggans have yet to arrive so I can relax…

one of the prime toboggan hills in Toronto!

one of the prime toboggan hills in Toronto! still empty this morning as we pass by

We walk part way over the Riverdale footbridge and I can see that we will not be going to the other side – the kids are already there, sliding down the other great hill.

Riverdale West hill slide- the off-leash area is at the bottom

Riverdale West hill slide – the off-leash dog area is at the bottom

While Clarence and his owner Mike  go over to the other side, Viggo and I head down for our favourite walk in the Don River Valley. There is a trail that runs along the river that makes for a great walk on days like this because I know nobody – well, almost nobody!- will be there.

Viggo dashing through the snow-

Viggo dashing through the snow-

down int he Don River valley on a snowy morning

down in the Don River valley on a snowy morning

Viggo plowing through the snow near the water's edge

Viggo plowing through the snow near the water’s edge

Viggo plowing through the snow near the water's edge

icie + snow = contentment

Viggo in the snow

Viggo in the snow

Viggo on the banks of the river

Viggo on the banks of the river

We live in the middle of an urban conglomeration of four million people and I appreciate that I can come down here- or down to the shores of Lake Ontario- and walk my dog and at least frame my pictures in such a way that for a while there is no city, just bush and river and and a trail through the snow with my dog Viggo running back to me.

We walked up the valley for a bit and then turned around and headed back for the bridge and home.  The unexpected cross-country skier and the snowshoe-er were both very gracious when I apologized for Viggo’s yapping and chasing; they said they had a dog too and knew what it was like.

A few minutes later he would leave me for the water’s edge and then run maybe one hundred meters (same as yards to our American readers!) up river chasing a couple of ducks whose quiet morning had definitely been shattered by this agitated intruder.  Here he is coming back, quite pleased with the job he’s done and fully expecting a reward for services rendered.

Viggo returns after a futile attempt at herding ducks

Viggo returns after a futile attempt at herding ducks

And then back to the Riverdale footbridge;  that is it in the picture below. Visible behind it are the bridges at Gerrard Street, Dundas Street, and barely visible the Queen Street Bridge.  No pretending we’re not in a city now!

bridges spanning the Don River in downtown Trawna

bridges spanning the Don River in downtown Toronto – the green one is the Riverdale footbridge

While we’d been down in the valley I’d been thinking about the likelihood of Amy having been down there earlier with her two dogs. In fact, I was going to have Laila facebook a message to thank her for the footsteps she left for us to follow. Well, up the steps of the green bridge we climbed and who should we meet?

Fender and Mersey and Viggo

Mersey and a hidden Fender and Viggo

We walked over the bridge together and Amy headed one way while Veegs and I angled another. Like me, Amy was making an effort to avoid the salt; the Parks guys had amazingly  already salted the park road down to the bridge from the main street up above so she was headed cross-country.

Fender and Mersey in the snow

Fender and Mersey in the snow- heading up to Broadview Ave. up above

A second later and the scene looked like this- we had just met up again with Clarence and Mike and now Clarence and Viggo were making a crazy dash towards Amy’s two-

amy surrounded by the boys

Amy and the dogs- Fender in play bow mode, Mersey, Clarence, and Viggo with his leash!

One last “scrunch”  for Viggo and our walk was almost done.

it's a dog's life- playing and being fussed over!

it’s a dog’s life – playing in the snow and being fussed over!

It was now more than  an hour later than when we had first come down the hill;  the toboggans were definitely out and the kids were having a great time. I held on to the leash for the rest of our walk as we passed them by. A CBC crew was just putting its video equipment away as we got to the top. What else but a feel-good news item on the action on the hill the morning after a major snow fall!

Riverdale hill with the kids sliding down

Riverdale hill with the kids sliding down

We stood and watched as a boy came down the hill where the slope is a more gentle grade and the speeds reached are not quite as fast as on the main section.  He was under the watchful eye of his dad, who may have also been wondering about Clarence and Viggo, both of whom were barking as things flashed by.

And so ended another morning walk.  It is a bit later as I finish typing this I and see that the sun is out and shining – unlike this morning’s grey.   Time for a walk in the neighbourhood – Viggo is ready to go!

Later The Same Day!

Withrow Park Hill- a hill for younger sliders

Withrow Park Hill- a hill for younger sliders

two boys playing "King of the Castle" inside the dog park

two boys playing “King of the Castle” on a snow mound inside the Withrow dog park

my little rascal in the midst of a sniff-fest

my little rascal in the midst of a sniff-fest below the mound of snow

snow and salt = slushy mess

snow and salt = slushy mess…rough on boots and on dogs’ paws

the big hill off Broadview is definitely busier than in the morning

the big hill off Broadview is definitely busier than in the morning

downtown view from the top of our street

downtown view from the top of our street just across from The Rooster Coffeehouse

Later The Same Week- After Yet More Snow!

Tilda down by the river with a dusting of snow on her snout

Tilda down by the river with a dusting of snow on her snout

Tilda and Viggo on the banks of the Don River

Tilda and Viggo on the banks of the Don River

Viggo chasing a Malamute by the name of Biffa (I think that is what I heard) on the valley trail

Viggo chasing a Siberian Husky by the name of Biffa  on the valley trail

Kuv (a Samoyed) i and Viggo romping through the bush

Kuvi (a Samoyed)  and Viggo romping through the bush

Viggo's fellow Spitz, the Samoyed named Kuvi

Viggo’s fellow Spitz, the Samoyed named Kuvi

Viggo snout to snout with a Tibetan Masstif

Viggo snout to snout with a Tibetan Masstif

family fun time on the slopes of Withrow Park

family fun time on the slopes of Withrow Park

a young slider contemplates her next run down Withrow Park Hill

a young slider contemplates her next run down Withrow Park Hill

a Roverdale encounter- Viggo meets up with Shorty

a Roverdale encounter- Viggo and Shorty waiting for the new boy Clubber to arrive

7 thoughts on “Dashing through The Snow- Viggo Has a Winter Blast!

  1. brilliant…there’s nothing quite like taking your dog to socialise in the local area. Our dog Sunny the labrador is now 14 and can only manage short walks as his back legs are fairly weak.

    • John, nice to hear you enjoyed the post. I started taking my camera along when “big, medium, small” descriptions of the dogs we encountered didn’t meet my wife’s exacting standards! Walking the dog is indeed an entry point to that sense of community that makes walking through one’s neighbourhood a pleasure.

      Your Lab Is I am sure getting the TLC he needs after a lifetime of bringing sunshine to you and yours like only Labs can. Enjoy your short walks – and encounters with fellow dog owners!

  2. Pingback: Toronto’s Top Hills For Tobogganing | www1.susanbandler.com

  3. get “PAWZ” boots- they are latex- to protect against the salt. They do not last forever, but my dog who removes other actual boots, will wear these.

    • C – if those are the balloon-like slip-ons, I do make use of them. Two sets of 4 (black or purple) usually last the winter given that we occasionally lose one in the snow. Winter here in Toronto is really no big deal – two or three major dumps that often melt way within the week – but it’s fun while it’s here!

      • yep, those are the ones. And without them, i sometimes carry my dog across slushy intersections. The shrieky noises made by a dog with salt in its paws are worth avoiding.

      • Viggo knows when to jump into my arms as we approach Broadview Avenue to cross over to the park and its acres of snow!

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