by Kath Woodward
I have had quite a few dogs in my life. I am a dog person and dogs have always been part of my life. As a child we had spaniels, boxers, corgis and sometimes puppies who resulted from a mixing of the boxer and the corgi!
I also have a huge number of pairs of shoes: lots and lots all over the house, not really neatly put away in appropriate cupboards. Shoes and dogs probably don’t mix apart from cosy images of the dog bringing you your slippers at the end of the day. Dogs, especially puppies have a tactile relationship that can be destructive especially to fashion shoes: dogs and shoes don’t really lie happily together.
We have had several labradors over the last thirty years, the years when our four children were growing up and the dogs are a reference point, central to our lives together. Each of these labradors has shared my delight in shoes, especially delicate strappy high heeled sandals, or flowery Boden flip flops or patent pumps. Dogs, of course prefer the shoes to be in their mouth. Sam loved my shoes. Long after the chewing stage of puppyhood, he would collect any one of my (nobody else’s in the family-just mine) shoes and take it to his basket in his mouth, his soft mouth designed for retrieving birds undamaged. Eppy, his companion for many years and also a black labrador was different. She was lean and athletic and Sam was chunky and slower.
Eppy was different in her relationship to shoes. She didn’t bother much with my shoes until the last 6 months of her life, when, having been diagnosed with a tumour on her lung when she was only 9, but still quite lively (steroids work-for a while) she began collecting my shoes, one at a time. She would just pick one up and carry it about. She died last month and I am sad. I have a pair of Repetto black patent pumps that I shall keep for ever ( even though they are a bit tight). She loved them and one has a clear tooth mark in the toe. Hers.