Parenting a dog is often like having one of those first-generation voice-command phones. You have to be veeeery careful not only of what you say but how you say it. Because the thing they learn is the thing you’re going to be stuck repeating a thousand times a week. So just as my father had to shout “DAVE TWO HOME” in just exactly the right way to get his phone to dial my brother’s house, I am stuck saying some mightily bizarre things to get my dogs to respond correctly.
The prime example begins with my Croc Knock-offs. I was told in one of the fora for sick people who whinge to each other about how sick we are (there are only a few of those on the internet) that Crocs were the best shoes for arthritic feet. And I don’t mean “oh, these are the best shoes.” I mean “These shoes will cause you to send letters to your God and the gods of all other religions and your congressional representative to express your gratitude for the wonder of how they cradle your feet.” It was an emphatic and near-endless endorsement. So I got a pair of knock-offs on close-out at Target. This is a side benefit to not having children. You can take your vacations when everyone else is back at work in September. That means you can shop for those vacations when all the vacation clothing is on close-out. Of course this means you head to Disney World in what are effectively society’s unwanted castoffs. But they are bargain castoffs. So. And so.
These shoes were indeed the bargain cast-offs of the Croc world. Two dollars apparently buys you an open sandal in vivid magenta, with a weird sort of bias crossing the top of your foot. Are the comfortable? Very. Could I walk all over Disney World unaided by the wheelchair? Were these Crocs the Marjoe Gortner of footwear, healing my feet on contact? Not quite.
Can I wear these shoes anywhere other than a Floridian vacation destination without looking like someone who has to have her home address pinned inside her shirt before she leaves the house? No. Emphatically no. That means when we returned home to Tennessee and our furry surrogate children, the Most Wonderful Shoes In Creation got relegated to the basement closet. The only time I wear them is when I have to slide something on in a hurry to get my disobedient dogs to stop re-enacting a Duran Duran video and come inside.
Now, when I reach the point of charging outdoors in the dead of winter to bring in dogs who have been called (thrice) and “didn’t hear”, I am not in the best of moods. And I am not hesitant to tell the dog about that mood, either. “You made me get my pink shoes!! That is NOT good, young man. GET IN THAT HOUSE!!!!” After a month I found that even opening the back door with the pink shoes on my feet got them to hustle inside. Fast-forward three months to March. “Come in” doesn’t work. “Get inside” works sporadically. But open the back door and yell “PINK SHOES”…the dogs come running. And yes, it’s great to have them come on command. But I’m still stuck with yelling what sounds like nonsense out my back door.