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Camels, dogs, and freezing weather
Judi Tabler color mug

It’s a good thing we don’t have a camel as a pet, or it would be lying on a pile of straw inside our back door. I’m sure you agree?

I watched a video this morning of a tour through desolate country in the Red Sea area located between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. As the archeologist shot videos of the countryside, passing through this ancient area where remote villages are sitting on sand and rock, treeless, and colorless terrain, I noticed something of interest.

Peeking over the stucco walls were the heads and humps of a camel here, a camel there. These animals are native to this area and valuable as beasts to carry loads, transport people, etc. I get that. Camels are their “horses,” their “oxen,” even their dogs.

Stay with me.

It’s been so cold here that the outside temp has not been fit for man nor beast. Our black Lab, Piper, lives in the garage on her comfortable padded bed in a big box. She won’t go in the dog house that we have spruced up for her. Oh no! She doesn’t want anything to do with it. But, a cardboard box with a blanket over the top is just fine.

For all practical purposes, Piper is an outside dog. She gets tons of love and attention, but never expects to enter our “hole.” I often leave the back door open when I bring her bowl of food to her “spot.” She never even approaches the open door.

However, when the cold snap hit, we knew that our outside dog needed to come inside. It had been about 5 degrees for a day before I realized that our doggie was cold! She was cowering in her box. 

Piper is smart. She took the invitation (to come in) like a big old carp gulping down a piece of fish guts. Zoom. She has never been in the house before. She has not ever tried to come in an open door. But all I had to say was, “Piper, do you want to come in?” 

I placed her thick bed in a corner near the back door. “Lie down in your bed, Piper” I coaxed as I petted her head. She instantly cuddled down on the mattress. She did not move.

Fred is not crazy about pets in the house. Fred didn’t balk this time. I think he agreed. 

After about a week of this dog in our house, I have to confess that Piper has been a model girl. She goes outside, then comes back in and heads for her bed. She doesn’t like the cold.

Just lately, after I let her outside, I promptly forgot about her. I was busy typing at my computer at the other end of the house, when I heard this desperate howling. “Owwwww Wouwww Wouwwwww.” I have never heard Piper howl. What the heck is that? Then, my memory was jarred. I remembered. She was trapped outside in 10-degree weather, and it had been at least 45 minutes since I had let her out. I approached the sliding doors where she was peering inside and doing a “paw dance.”   

Oops. C’mon in, Piper.

After watching the video about the Far East today, and seeing that camels are the common four-legged species over there, I felt compassion for any pet owners. If suddenly, the temperature there would drop to freezing, what would they do? After all, camels aren’t accustomed to the cold, are they?

I told Fred, “Be grateful we don’t have a pet camel, or there would be a spot in our house for him during these cold snaps.”

Fred agreed. But I don’t think he was listening to me.  

Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at