Being a dog owner is different depending on what part of the world you live in. TikTok user Cecilia Blomdahl posted a video chronicling what, exactly, is involved in walking her dog in the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Beside the obvious frigid weather, in winter, Svalbard also has 24 hours of darkness from mid-November until the end of January (a phenomenon known as the polar nights), making a simple walk around the block quite an ordeal.
Preparing for a dog walk doesn’t just require throwing on some sweatpants and queuing up your favorite podcast. It involved several layers and some accessories you might not expect.
“It’s starting to get really cold here,” Blomdahl says in the video, “and it’s pitch black 24/7. You start with some wool thermals, then expedition pants, then a down sausage jacket, and then your teletubby headlight, and of course that’s not enough. We have polar bears here, so we have to bring a rifle with us every time we’re outside.”
That’s right. Due to the presence of polar bears on Svalbard, anyone leaving the immediate borders of Longyearbyen (the main town) is required to carry a rifle for protection.
“Dogs are obviously invisible in the dark so I put a bunch of blinkies and high-vis vests on them so I can actually see them when they run away.”
She then shows us the view outside her cabin at 4 PM, which is, of course, extremely dark and snowy. It might not sound like a ton of fun for humans, but it certainly looks like the dogs are having a good time rolling around in the snow.