Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hello Winter

Winter has officially arrived this week, bringing extremely cold temperatures to most of us here in Canada.  Sure, we should be used to it, we are Canadians after all (as my sister keeps pointing out when any of us complain)!  But this is seriously cold, leading to somewhat amusing stories in the news about people not getting their mail on time because it was so cold, the delivery trucks wouldn't start - which is what happened yesterday in Winnipeg (affectionately known as "Winterpeg"), Manitoba, where early morning temperatures were as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius.  Believe it or not, minus 40C is the same in Fahrenheit - minus 40!  Brrr!

Here in Toronto, it has been cold too, although thankfully not quite that cold ("only" minus 25C overnight).  We had snow today too. I actually thought I was going to have to brush off my car for the first time this winter (that's how spoiled we've been this year, barely any snow accumulation) but luckily, it was very light snow and most of it blew away as soon as the car got going fast enough.  Still, this kind of weather means lots of accidents on the roads and cars that won't start due to dead batteries.

Unfortunately, it's not all ice skating and hot chocolate, cozy flannel pyjamas and Jack Frost nipping at your nose when this kind of winter comes to town. These bitterly cold temperatures are also dangerous to both humans and animals.  One homeless person in Toronto died last night, probably the result of hypothermia.  The city opens additional shelters and issues extreme cold alerts to encourage homeless people to seek out warm places to stay but it's not always enough.  There are also stories in the news urging people to bring their pets indoors and sadly, stories of people abandoning animals to fend for themselves outdoors.  It's heartbreaking.

On days like this, I am very grateful to be lucky enough that I can go from home to car to office with a minimum of exposure to the climate conditions if need be and even more glad that I can contribute in my small way to bringing some of those homeless animals in from the cold.  I'm giving my foster cats extra snuggles tonight while they hang out on the couch.

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