Cold weather can be deadly for pets

By James Kelly
March 3, 2014

Patricia Labonte from Topsham, Maine, woke up with tears in her eyes. The memories of her Pomeranian puppy were in her dreams.
“It was about a year ago today when he died.”
Labonte’s dog was named Pepper.
Almost a year ago, she let him outside during the middle of winter in Topsham, Maine. She went to check on him not 10 minutes later, only to find he was cold as ice, no longer living.
“Pepper,” Labonte cried.
She picked him up and carried him inside. Labonte placed him on the couch and picked up her phone. Her first instinct was to call her sister, Kathy Ibel.
Today, Labonte remembers the phone call almost perfectly.
“I’m unsure why I chose to call Kathy. She is not the closest to me out of all my siblings,” Labonte said, “I remember her being very supportive and consulting, though. Pepper was all I had left after my husband had passed from prostate cancer.”
Ibel said the reason she was so understanding was because she could relate.
“I know exactly how she feels. At least a little bit, that is. I lost my cat when I let her outside one day, though for all I know she ran away.”
Winter can be very painful for some, and in this instance can even cause death.
“I think winter is beautiful. The snow on the tree and the sparkling of the icy water. Though, if only it were a little warmer. My sister had already lost her husband in a terrible manner, and the last thing she needed was to lose another family member harshly.”
Ibel lives on Prince Edward Island and she says the weather is even worse than in Maine.
“P.E.I. is low and surrounded by water. It can’t get much worse during winters.”
At work, Ibel is required to spend nights there. If there is storm, she must stay the whole day in case the person with the next shift cannot make it in.
“Due to storms this winter on P.E.I., I’ve been stuck at work for almost 50 extra hours.”
Marissa Wing lives beside Labonte. She knew Pepper almost like she was her own.
“I was not home that winter. I travelled to Florida. When I got home and Patricia told me what had happened, I felt almost as bad as she did. It really was like we had lost a family member.”
She would much rather live in P.E.I. than Maine, Wing said.
“Even if the winters in Prince Edward Island are very cold, I have heard the other seasons are amazing. I think I still would really rather live there than here.”

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