I get asked all the time how we (my guide dog Rick and I) get through the winters. Do I commute to work by walking, what do I do when it is really cold, So I figured I would answer those questions in this post.
I live in Saskatchewan Canada and it gets very cold here, this winter has been brutal. There have been many days between -30c and -42c (-22f to -43f) here. This is normal for us and we always have to factor in the wind chill and the wind chill makes a huge difference. I always hear people say, ” you can’t go out in that weather with your dog”. But the reality is that if I didn’t go to work with my dog each day he would have stayed home more than half of the winter which is from October – April. And the other option people say is, “I would not go to work if it was that cold”, but reality says I live in Canada it is cold get your butt to work.
It is possible to have a guide dog and be able to get to and from work walking to and from and using public transit even when your eye lashes are freezing (waterproof mascara is a must). There are a few things that I use for my dog to make sure that he is warm and comfortable and then there are things that I use that make sure I won’t be getting frost bite and freezing. There is definitely no time for a fashion statement when it is that cold. So here is an actual version of what ones winter wardrobe should look like while living in Saskatchewan or where ever there is winter. I always see and hear about all these cute trends for the winter and think, “hmmmm I might look cute but by god I would have frost bite and be freezing by the time I made it anywhere” so there is a huge difference between fashionable and functional, we are going for functional.
There has been some trial and error in what works and what is warm so here are some of my favorite winter weather must-haves when it is cold, really really cold.
The most important piece is a winter coat. This coat I invested in, I had enough of being frozen by the time I got anywhere. The jacket is made by a Canadian company which I really liked because they understand the struggle of cold weather and the extremes. It is made by a company named Quartz Nature. I have had this coat for 2 years now and love it, I stay nice and warm no matter how cold it gets. On -40c days I am able to get to work and stay relatively warm.
The next thing is boots. All I can say is invest in a good pair of boots if you are anything like me as soon as your feet get cold you are cold all over and there is no warming up until your feet are warm. So I have had a few different pairs of boots of the years and usually wore Sorell boots but this year I needed a new pair and wanted to try something a little lighter and found these boots by Keen. They are super light and have been warm. I always add some really warm cozy socks on really cold days but they are great.
The next few things are obvious one would think. But so many people just want to look nice but being cold sucks. So a good winter hat or tuque if you are Canadian is a must as well as a scarf and good mitts or gloves.
I have many different hats and scarves but the mitts are very warm they are leather and have a wool lining and they have stood up over the last about 4 winters and are very warm. I have worn just those on -40c days and my hands have been nice and toasty. The scarf and hat are just the ones I have been gravitating towards but I always try to choose something that is warm and cozy and soft.
Now I do have a Guide Dog so he needs to also be warm and toasty so he also has some winter gear that he wears to help us get to and from work. He wears a Ruffwear fleece lined jacket as well as some Canine Equipment boots. I love these boots they have stood up over this year, they don’t fill with snow or come off. You will also notice that there is a black bump on the toe of two of the boots. That is puff paint I added so I knew which ones were the front boots (they are different sizes).
There is nothing worse than being cold. I love all the fashion we see for winter but we never see practical, I walk everywhere I go fashion for winter. Hope this helps anyone who is like me and lives somewhere cold and needs to have practical fashion.
Stay Warm, Until Next Time !
Ashley and Rick