It was one of those winter days that seemed much more like spring. There had been a storm yesterday but the only trace of it now was the slightly dark mist suspended in the vast open sky. Weak sunlight crept through the open windows, casting a timid sort of light throughout the room and a quiet chirping of birds could almost be heard outside in the maple tree. It was just one of those days begging for me to go outside and find out what it would bring.
"Will someone take Scooter for a walk?" I heard Mama call. Jumping up, I skipped down the stairs two at a time, grabbing our dachshund's leash as I flew down the hallway.
"I will!" I called out loudly.
As I found our little puppy snoozing on the couch I approached him quietly, not wanting to startle him, and then whispered gently, "Hey, little guy. Do you feel like going outside with me today?" Which was of course a very unnecessary question, considering the fact that he was already starting to wake up, wagging his tail excitedly.
"I take that as a yes, then," I said happily, picking him up and burying my face in his warm fur.
Outside the weather was cold and crisp, but at the same time there was a type of warmth in the air that filled me up like a helium balloon, so that I was so full of happiness I might have lifted off of the ground. I tugged gently on the leash and then whispered softly, "Come on, little guy. Let's run!"
And with that we were off, racing against the wind that was whipping my long hair out behind me. We were racing against the sunlight that trickled towards us gently, creeping serenely into my little puppy's eyes, illuminating his look of sheer delight. It was just the perfect day to run. I looked over to my side to marvel at how Scooter's long back and powerful little legs could propel him forward so quick and gracefully. I was laughing inside, as his big, silky ears flapped like maple leaves in a windstorm. He was panting slightly, and I realized that I was too. Our breath turned into small little clouds that teased us and then floated away wispily, finally diffusing into the rest of the foggy air.
The grass beneath my shoes was crunching slightly and I was amazed at the thin layer of frost that laced every single blade of grass, big or small. I thought of how not a blade was left bare, how incredible it was that every piece was wrapped in the tiny little ice crystals.
We ran for a while, until our hearts pounded like drums. The chilly air started to sting my throat like a sharp knife piercing through my neck, down my throat, and into my heaving lungs. The dog was so swift, it was hard to keep up, but gradually his pace was slowing down. His eyes were widening in concentration as he looked up at me, signaling that our walk was now over. I nodded, unable to muster the breath required to speak, and turned towards home. One step at a time, we worked our way back to the front door. Then I turned to my beloved puppy.
"Oh Scooter, I love you so much. What would I do without you?"
My little dog's eyes dilated and he raised a paw hopefully. I put my hand out, and he jumped into my arms. I hugged him tightly and felt his soft fur against my face. Then I carried him inside the house where he knew that warmth, love, and dog biscuits would always be there for him. And he would be there, for us.