There a lot of stereotypes out there about dogs. A lot of them are true. For instance, the canine affinity for shoes is a very real phenomenon. I’m sure the dog moms and dads reading this blog have encountered it. Why do we love shoes? Let me break it down for you:
1. They smell like our humans, except better, because shoes absorb your stinkiest, strongest scents. Humans surround themselves with their favorite scents by buying perfume and candles. Dogs like to indulge sometimes too.
2. They smell like the outdoors too. Our noses are very sophisticated, so we can smell everything you stepped on. It’s like taking a walk without leaving the couch!
3. They are tough and leathery, and hence, fun to chew. Our jaws like a challenge. I know you buy us chew toys for that purpose, but we’re just dogs…we don’t know any better.
Actually, that last statement was a lie. Some of us do know better. This is the story of how I got my Mom and Dad to trust me around shoes.
When Mom brought me home as a puppy, she didn’t leave her shoes lying around because she wanted to keep me out of trouble. She’s too smart for her own good sometimes. But after several weeks, Mom started to get a little lazy. One day while Mom was studying, I realized that she forgot to put away her leather Rainbow sandals. Apparently these sandals get better over time because the leather molds to the shape of your feet, and this particular pair was aged to perfection. Oops! I chewed those suckers beyond recognition. And I loved every minute of it!
Mom didn’t punish me because, let’s be honest, I’m too cute. But I could tell that she was mad because she talked in a stern voice and wagged her finger at me, and I felt really guilty. And what’s worse…Mom started hiding her shoes in the closet again. The delicious smell of sweaty feet was locked away where I could never enjoy it. I thought to myself, there must be a way to make both of us happy.
Several weeks into my shoe drought, Mom brought me home to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the summer. They never had a dog in the house before, so they left shoes strewn about all over the place. I knew this was my chance to prove myself. While the humans were busy, I gingerly plucked the stinkiest shoes from around the house and put them in a pile on the couch. When they found me peacefully sitting next to their missing shoes, they didn’t get mad…they laughed!
And I discovered that I can still enjoy shoes by sticking my face inside them, and maybe licking them a little bit. Of course, chewing them would be fun, but I’d rather limit myself to sniffs than lose my shoe privileges altogether.
Since I don’t chew on shoes anymore, I had to scour the Internet to illustrate this story. These shoes were destroyed in the name of fashion – specifically, for a spread in Marie Claire shot by Peter Lippmann – so I don’t feel too guilty sharing them.
So, canine friends, if you find yourself unsupervised around a stinky pair of shoes: think before you pounce.