Seattle dogwalker vs. Seattle snow

This is going to be a rant blog. Well, a rant and an apology blog.  I am so incredibly frustrated with Seattle's weather and the forecasting abilities. I understand that due to the ocean and mountains and other geographical elements this is a very hard area to forecast weather for, but seriously, this is ridiculous.

Based on the ever-changing forecasts and conditions on Sunday night, I cancelled all services for Monday. Turned out to be clear roads and no snow.... Today everything was planned to be on normal schedule until I got to the dog park and there was at least 1" of new snow on the ground and covering all the roads. To avoid getting stuck later on in the afternoon when the snow was originally forecasted to begin, I cancelled the afternoon park trip. I am now sitting at home on top of Queen Anne and there is not a bit of snow on the ground and the sun is shining. I am 0-2.

These pictures were taken at the same time - Kendal at Magnuson Park, and myself leaving Queen Anne.








I know it seems that this shouldn't be such a difficult decision, but here are the factors that come in to play for us dogwalkers:

  • The majority of my driving is on neighborhood streets, alleys, and other lower traffic roads that are more likely to have snow and ice still
  • Just because I can pick up all of my dogs and get them to the park doesn't mean conditions couldn't drastically change over the next 3 hours and make it difficult to get home. Stuck with a truck full of pups in freezing temperatures is a recipe for disaster.
  • Precious cargo: a big factor in how well my truck handles the snow is how much weight is in the back, weight = precious cargo = your dog. If I had a truck bed full of sand bags I may not be so hesitant, but I do not want to risk it with the pups in the back. The tail end sliding out around a corner could be devastating... something I hope to never experience!
  • Brrrrr... it can get cold in the back of the truck! It is pretty well insulated and with all the heavy breathing on the way home from the park it stays pretty toasty, but not so much on the way there. Plus, at the park, snow gets stuck in the hair in between the dogs toes and can get really uncomfortable! See this article for some more tips on keeping your pup safe in the snow.

All in all, this "snow day" game is often more work than it's worth, and this city does not make it very easy to accurately plan for! Believe me, I love snow more than just about anyone. In fact, I woke up almost every hour last night and looked out the window like a little kid.... One of the many wonderful things about this job is that a snow day + work is even better than a snow day without work - I love going to the dog park on snow days and watching the dogs frolick and play. It is so much fun and something I look forward to all year long. Being able to safely get there and back is the issue....  If I am going to cancel park trips and walks, I want it to be a legit full-on SNOW DAY where there is obviously no way anyone is going to make it to work. A repeat of 2008 or nothing at all.

So, in summary, I would like to sincerely apologize to my clients for all of the hassle and inconvenience this week. And hopefully, third time is a charm and I will make the right call tomorrow!