A reader of this blog, “Janerowena” suggested I write about buying my dog, “Rabbit” a winter jacket. I mentioned feeling the chill in the air a few blogs past and so, as all “parents” do, I immediately reasoned that since I was cold, maybe Rabbit, was also cold. And if she wasn’t yet, she would be soon. For myself, I am prepared and have been eyeballing last year’s winter jackets in the closet and wondering when I would need it.
After the first cold rain, Rabbit and I took the bus to a local chain pet store in suburban Stockholm. In the entry way, there was a moving ramp leading up to the second floor where the store was. It wasn’t an escalator, more like one of those flat “people moving sidewalks” like you see in an airport—only this one was at an angle. A sign said that animals should be carried so I picked up Rabbit and held her as we were raised to the second floor. (Now that I think about it, why wasn’t the store on the first floor? I don’t know what was down there.)
I had been to this particular store once before when I was searching for a lamb & rice dog food I could feed Rabbit. I was uneducated about what kinds of kibble were sold in Sweden so I spent a long time in the store and so on my second visit I had a good understanding of its layout.
A sign said that male dogs had to wear these loaner, black cloth “diapers” in case they got the urge to pee on something. I was glad I had a girl dog. Very few dogs are neutered or spayed here in Sweden so I imagine there is a pronounced problem in pet stores with male dogs marking merchandise.
Weather Protection…For Pets
I bee-lined over to the weather protection aisle. There were lots of people trying coats on their dogs, everyone remembering, oh yeah, it’s gonna get really cold soon. I got the feeling that is was good to buy something before they sold out of desirable sizes.
The store had a number of options and I zeroed in on a Finnish brand. I made poor Rabbit try on jacket after jacket in order to figure out the perfect size. She looked like a teenager trying to put up with an embarassing mother.
I became interested in a well-made jacket that protected the dog entirely, even the legs. Although it had a soft inner and outer layer, the middle layers were waterproof. It was made for severe weather but this kind of coat would also keep the dog clean from all the wet sand and grit that ends up on the sidewalks, on the bus floors, etc. Especially when there is less snow and more ice as there was last winter.
There was only one problem. Rabbit looked like M.C. Hammer in the outfit!
I bought it anyway, but in the end I decided all the other dogs would just laugh at Rabbit. (I mean, I know there are other owners who have these for their dogs, especially if they have a thin-coated dog such as a Boston Terrrier…Maybe I just worried that I would burst out laughing every time I saw her.) So I returned it.
Rabbit, for the record, has a natural “dual coat” which means she has her own, nature-given insulation. But I keep her hair quite short (other than the tail and head) and she is very thin, she doesn’t have much insulating fat. Plus, she has only ever lived in California and never even seen snow, never mind felt the biting cold.
I exchanged the hip hop outfit for a lined jacket that is made to protect the exact parts of the dog that need to be kept warm the most. There are no legs to the jacket but a panel protects the belly. One thing I think is weird is that it has a faux fur collar. You don’t see it so much if it’s not folded down so that’s good. It just seems like some sort of cosmic joke—a fur collar on a furry dog.
Rabbit also got an unlined rain coat which she has used a lot this month. The winter coat is waiting for when we have some real Swedish Viking weather.