I go home every day for lunch, and most of the time, I’m met by a little black nose against the back door glass that turns into a dancing, wagging, happy puppy. Today was a bit different.
Izzy had his puppy period of chewing everything in sight and as all puppies, he pretty much grew out of it about six months ago. He used to pile up all the rugs in the house right in front of the back door, as if he meant for me to see them as soon as I walked in. Of course, they weren’t all in one piece when I walked in . . . they had corners chewed off, long ends raveling, and sometimes even had holes in the middle of the rug (don’t know how he did that, but he managed to). I tried everything to get him to stop. Sprayed the rugs with bad-tasting stuff like chili. Used bitter apple on the corners. Switched the rugs around so different ones were in his “favorite” places. Laid down sticky mats so the rugs couldn’t move. No matter what, he still found a way to chew the corners. Then one day, he stopped. Pure and simple. Just quit.
But he’s still a dog and only two years old. In the past year, he has found any shoes that were inadvertently left out. Usually, he chews one, rips out the insole and leaves both near the door where I walk in every day. Sometimes I don’t care about the shoes he has chewed. What the heck, every woman needs new shoes. Why not give myself an excuse to go and buy some new ones? But there have been a couple of pairs that I really liked; one pair was a new pair of walking shoes that I had spent $100 on and only worn once. I turned the air blue that day.
Again, he went through a spurt of chewing, then stopped.
I opened the door and instead of a wagging tail, I saw a little black and white dog frozen in his tracks, right in the middle of a pair of shoes — not just one shoe, as is his usual habit, but a pair — that I didn’t even remember leaving out. I had worn them to work the day before and really loved them because they had gel innersoles, were flat but dressy, and their nude color went with everything. There they were, innersoles ripped out, toes chewed through, and there was no way on God’s green earth that they would ever be wearable again. And Izzy knew it.
His head cocked, he watched me pick up the pieces, but he didn’t come very close to me. And when I was done and pulled out his leash, he walked toward me very slowly as if unsure whether I was even going to take him for a walk.
We went for our walk, but we had a serious talk while we walked, and I could swear he knew what I was saying when I told him that “if you ever chew my shoes again, I’m going to find that crate down the cellar and that’s where you’ll be while I’m at work.”
And when we got home, he gave me his sad face. And I melted. Sheesh.