Das Boot.

“Boot” as in “boot,” not “boat.” My dog eats boots.  She has not, as of yet, devoured or even nibbled on a boat.  At least not to my knowledge. Perhaps if the boat were made of leather, she might give it a whirl.  Take a run at it.  Trip the light fantastic. 

Screenshot 2014-11-20 08.21.10This historic piece of boatbuilding?  A glorified chew toy for our Black Lab and whatever mix.  If I just turned my laptop’s screen to give her the briefest of glimpses at this bark and leather canoe, Wailea would begin blowing her saliva bubbles and dotting her head around with unnatural rapidity, birdlike.  She’d be on the verge of losing her mind.  Terrified, I’d loose my fingers’ grip on the MacBook Air, sprinting and gone from the living room before the laptop thudded on the carpet.  Running for my life. Aren’t I, more or less, made of leather?

Fortunately, I believe leather has long since fallen out of favor as a boat-making ingredient. That’s good for boat owners (and for dog owners showing their dogs pictures of leather boats).  Because my dog would eat every leather boat in the Marina.  It would look like the San Francisco Bay waterfront during the Gold Rush, littered with the remains of abandoned boats.  She would clean out a leather-made boat, removing every last edible or potentially-edible morsel, leaving nothing but the ribs behind.  This would be hard for me to explain to the good people who own boats near my neighborhood —

Screenshot 2014-11-20 08.17.50 On the other hand, for better or worse, as long as my wife leaves leather boots on the ground within Wailea’s reach, the boots are in jeopardy.  Real jeopardy.  Fantastic dog food blog fodder, if you will.

We are still working on training our not-quite-two-years-old pup to keep herself in check when we leave the house without her.  She has pretty much outgrown the chicken coop of a crate she’s had since she weighed 15 pounds.  Sixty pounds later, she practically oozes through the thin metal bars of the crate like that viral Facebook photo of the heavyset dude who gave himself six-pack abs with some kind of bbq grate contraption.  Or like these guys —

Screenshot 2014-11-20 08.11.13

When I head out for a few hours, I know the routine.  I think Lea does too.  Certain doors get closed, the contents behind the door off-limits.  Verboten.  Other items get lifted out of reach.  My baseball glove, for example.  Anything else is fair game. I have made a habit out of scanning a room with a quick spin of my eyes and weighing the odds that anything in paws’ reach will next see the light of day in a pile of poop tomorrow.  It’s not a perfect analysis, but perfect enough.  Usually.

Yesterday, I slipped out for a couple hours, and didn’t look closely enough at the floor of the garage. It’s a little dark in there, and the rainy/overcast conditions yesterday didn’t help my rods and cones.  So I didn’t see the fancy boots on the ground.

Wailea doesn’t suffer from 46 year-old rods and cones.  As soon as the garage door touched down, the girl must have gone straight to work.  Edward Scissorhands on the dinosaur bushes. A couple hours later, the rising garage door slowly revealed…what is that?  I literally couldn’t tell if the pile of shreads was the remains of her beloved penguin stuffy, or a live bird she had somehow managed to capture in the backyard, or maybe even fat rat remnants.  I stood leaning over the carcass.  Squinting my eyes in the still-dim light.  Pulling quick sniffs through my nostrils, trying to detect something organic.  Nudging it lightly with the toebox of my sneaker.  Then I saw a buckle.  Like one you’d see on a pilgrim’s hat.  Like the ones I’ve seen on a pair of my wife’s boots.  Relief that this was no dead rat.  Tightening larynx realizing that I had probably missed this potential food item on my way out the door two hours ago.  And that I would soon be in the dog house for my transgression. 

But at least I’d get some sixpack abs out of the deal.  Am I right?

Thanks for reading.

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