I love my dog. I do. He's cute and sweet, and the best running partner anyone could ask for. He sticks with me, never tires, and even provides much-needed entertainment during long grueling trail miles. He comes when I call him (provided I remember the turkey bacon) and he waits for me at the top of steep hills as I slowly stumble my way up. There's just onnneee thing. And it's a small thing, really. It barely even qualifies as a "thing". He chews shoes. Running shoes in particular. He's still just a pup, so I'm working on breaking this habit. But man, it makes me want to scream when I find one of my beloved and quite indispensable running shoes outside with half of the heel missing and guts spilling out. Nooooo! But it's too late. Zeke looks at me with those sweet brown eyes and cocks his head to the side. He notes the fury in my expression and before I can blink, he's on the other side of the yard, tail and butt in the air, legs lowered, ears up, and grinning. The classic "play bow". He doesn't get it.
It's my fault, really. I'm a big girl and I know what happens when you don't put your toys away. Zeke just doesn't allow for slip-ups, not even one. After our run yesterday, we walked in and my husband was mopping. Rather than track muddy footprints through the living room, dampening the chances that my husband ever mops again, I took them off and put them by the door. I left them there all night and this morning I glance over and see just one running shoe by the door. Noooooo! I run outside to search the back yard (we have a dog door so it's easy for Zeke to sneak things outside) and there it is. Cowering under the paws of the shoe monster, with its laces draped between the fangs limp and lifeless, hanging by a couple of threads. I sigh a huge sigh of relief. Relief? After my poor baby has been mutilated? Well, it was just the lace. Totally replaceable. "Bad boy" I say, and snatch the shoe. "Bad BOY!" And he jumps up and tries to grab it back. He doesn't get it.
Both of my current running shoes are now safe and sound, tucked away in their over-the-door hanging shoe organizer in my closet. I promised them it wouldn't happen again, but they look at me with doubt in their eyelets. They know I mean well. And I know Zeke means well. He only does it cause he loves me so much. There is no one else in all the world who loves me that much. There are drawbacks to every relationship. I could name several drawbacks to the relationship my husband and I have. Same for my son and I. Mom, dad, siblings, boss, friends, milkman... But when the perks outweigh the liabilities, I say it's a relationship worth hanging on to.