Snow has continued to accumulate over the past few days, much to the delight of Touille, our rat terrier. Not one who typically enjoys cold weather, she loves being outside and loves her mini tennis ball more than she hates the cold. After lazily just throwing her ball in the yard for several days to entertain myself with her antics, I was feeling cooped up in the house and wanted to see how winter had transformed our forest. It was time to get outside with Touille to enjoy the dog days of winter.
Wondering how our Great Swiss Snow Fox had fared with the recent warming and then influx of fresh powder, I first stopped to see if he was still alive. Though tilting dangerously to one side, he was sporting a spiffy new snow coat and didn’t appear any worse for wear.
Touille and I leisurely continued along the wide path that makes a large loop through our forest. Taking a side trail, we popped out briefly into the fields overlooking Lake Neuchâtel.
Long ago in Oregon, Touille learned the meaning of the word squir·rel:
Noun that refers to a small animal with a long tail and soft fur that eats nuts and lives in trees
To a rat terrier, a ˈskwir-əl is a fun furry playmate that LOVES to be chased.
While we don’t allow her to take part in this pastime – or chase cats, people on bikes, etc – she’s long since ceased to care that she can’t “chase.” Simply hearing the word squirrel sends her into a frenzied panic to find the squirrel. She doesn’t have to come anywhere near one to have a rollickin’ good time.
The vast unbroken fields of snow covering the fields were just too tempting.
Time and time again, I sent her racing out into the snow, where she’d suddenly pounce, confident she must be right on top of one of the elusive little rodents.
She wasn’t. In fact, we almost never see squirrels at all in our little corner of Switzerland, not even in the beautiful forest that borders our village.
Needless to say, she didn’t catch any squirrels. She did spend an ecstatic half hour poofing in the snow. During the dog days of winter, a day in the life of a little American rat terrier living in Switzerland is pretty darned good.