An ice surprise

Greetings one and all.

Just prior to the rather unusual spell of warmer weather late last year, Commando and I were out on one of our usual morning walks. There was a slight byte of frost in the air, which was not too unusual given the time of year. But as we set off there didn’t appear to be any other conditions which could be cause for concern or necessitate the need for me to take extra precautions.

However about 5 minutes into the walk, I found myself sliding ever so slightly on a patch of ice! At this point, I recalled the previous evenings weather forecast and the mention of the possibility of very light snow fall and the possibility of frost. But, typically whenever such conditions are in affect I can usually identify them either before or just after we start a journey. But this time, as I mentioned above, everything appeared to be fine.

Thinking that perhaps this was the exception rather than the norm for what was in store for the rest of the walk, I decided to proceed with our journey. However, as it turns out, this was only the first icy patch that we would encounter.

The first slide had not been anything serious and only seemed to be a tiny piece of ice, underneath a tree. So I hadn’t slowed our pace. However, a couple of minutes later I found myself again taking a little slide! At this point, I realized that perhaps there was more ice around than I had initially suspected, and I immediately slowed our pace. Commando, like other guide dogs, is very perceptive to the needs of his human. He likely had felt my slide, and, of course, was now aware that he was being asked to slow his pace. I found myself quite impressed when he began to slow down even more and a moment later I felt the unmistakable feel of ice beneath my feet. I can only assume that Commando had spotted some visible ice ahead of us and realizing that this was the reason for him being slowed down, deciding to reduce his speed still further to keep us safe.

Now, perhaps dear readers, I should have considered turning us around and heading home once we encountered the ice. But Commando appeared to be taking it all in stride, and so far we hadn’t encountered any really large sections of ice. Plus I had a specific reason for the walk that morning, so we pressed on.

As we came to another potentially tricky area, where we have a very slight decline to deal with I urged Commando to go even slower, just to be sure that the decline wouldn’t cause any serious problems should there be some ice there. Fortunately, we encountered no problems there and proceeded the remaining short distance to the high street.

I took care of the matter which had necessitated the journey and we began to head home. When we turn on the high street we have to head down a bank. We turned onto that bank and here encountered what I can only assume was some black ice… Before I could urge Commando to go even slower, just to be safe, my right foot came into contact with the ice, sending my right leg forward and up in what may well have looked like a passible dance move. Fortunately, my left foot remained in contact with the ground and Commando and I came to an immediate stop.

After a second or two, in which I marvelled at the fact that I was still on my feet, we moved off once again, slowly of course. Towards the bottom of the bank we encountered another bit of black ice which caused me to slide slightly off to the left, and into Commando. Fortunately, once again, we both remained on our feet, although Commando did decide to take it even slower for the remainder of that bank. I am fortunate that he concerns himself with my well fare, as the ice appears to cause him no problems at all. Although I’m sure this has something to do with the fact that he does have 4 paws to help him retain his balance.

Fortunately, we encountered no further difficulties, although I’m sure that this may have been down to Commandos slow careful pace. I am fortunate that he could spot the whiter ice and slow his pace as and when it was required in order to keep us both safe.

Regular readers may recall the story of our first encounter with ice, which resulted in one of our shortest and most precarious walks, and the traction aids I purchased soon thereafter to keep us safe in the future. Although I had not been using them that day, once we entered that recent cold snap they were swiftly deployed and once again proved helpful in keeping me on my feet.

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