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Zoe’s Red Boots

February 4, 2015


Zoe’s Boots Are Not Made for Walking


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know how I extoll the virtues of my wonderful guide dog Zoe.  Well, after Milwaukee’s one foot of snow and the three-foot drifts behind my townhouse on February 1–along with, most importantly, too much salt/sand mixture on sidewalks–I will tell you my dog’s only fault:  she will not wear her fashionable, red boots.  Zoe does not care that once again my new year’s resolution is to train her to wear four boots that would protect her paws against the salt/sand mixture which is so abundant on sidewalks in our immediate area.  Despite periodic attempts through our years of working together, my seven-year-old guide dog has never really worn her boots.


On the other hand (or on the other paw), before my Leader Dog and I go outside, into the Wisconsin winter, Zoe pleasantly allows me to apply Musher’s Secret on each of her paws.  My black lab/golden retriever mix so knows this routine that she holds up the next paw in turn for my rubbing the protective balm onto the pad of each paw.  When we return home from a walk and/or errand, Zoe cooperates extremely well with my wiping off her paws  near the entry door.  After her leash, harness, and coat are off and in their proper spots, she is quite happy for me to wash off her tummy, legs, and paws.  Again, my Leader Dog helps by holding out the proper paw to be washed, in turn.


I am abundantly grateful for all this magnificent behavior; however, Zoe will not wear her fashionable, red boots–nor any of the other sets of boots which I have purchased through the years.  Yes, I know she is too young to have heard Nancy Sinatra sing the well-known line:  “These boots are made for walkin’.”  Nevertheless, I am certain that I could provide a nice and inspirational CD recording of Ms. Sinatra’s famous song for Zoe’s listening pleasure.


Actually, instead of a pop-music sound, Zoe may be telling me that The Nutcracker Ballet is more her style because she approaches the fashionable, red boot as if it were a ballet slipper–the real type for dance on point.  Like a ballerina, Zoe keeps her paw at the ready for “on point”–in other words, she absolutely will not place her paw flat into the boot and will not place her booted paw on the floor.  My lab holds up her booted paw as if she were wounded and as if the boot were a cast.  So, the one fashionable red boot joins the other three while I once again resort to Musher’s Secret.


My almost perfect Leader Dog does want me to add that her predecessors Keller and Heather did not wear their boots either.  Although I did put all four boots on my first Leader Dog Keller, she promptly rolled over on her back, put all four booted paws up into the air, and seemingly quipped:  “These boots are not made for walking!”  Nevertheless, I must confess that Keller’s boots for the Frozen Tundra were not made as well as Zoe’s latest set of boots.


Although from 1998 to 2010, I purchased three additional sets of boots for my second Leader Dog Heather, I should have known that Miss “Cement Paws” would not wear any practical design I could find.  Despite being the largest, strongest, and sturdiest of my three guide dogs, Heather did especially like having the capacity to have all four paws on terra firma at all times that she wished.  Thus, Heather was not a fan of Nancy Sinatra either.


How could I be blessed with three such marvelous, city guide dogs–none of whom would even consider wearing boots!  Fortunately, Zoe loves wearing her coats–as did Heather and Keller.


If you know a good and gentle way to convince an extremely intelligent, almost perfect, and truly loveable  guide dog to wear her fashionable, red boots, please leave a comment on my blog.


Enjoy your walks in this winter’s wonderland, and be sure to wear your boots!

Alice and Zoe


February 4, 2015, Wednesday



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  1. Alice, I don’t have a guide dog and have never tried putting boots on any of the dogs my family had when I was growing up so I don’t know what to tell you. I hope you find a solution.

    • Abbie–Glad to know that you read my blog again even though the topic is one with which you do not directly relate. Hope that you are not having too much snow in Wyoming–Alice

  2. Dear Alice and Zoey. I’m afraid I don’t have a clue how to help. Dogs do have a mind of their own, and although they aren’t quite as independently independent as say, a cat is, they sure can avoid our wishes and commands at times. I can imagine how fantastic Zoey would look with those fancy red boots. The sidewalks will just have to do without the fashion statement. Thanks for another wonderful walk along your blog. dp

  3. Since February is nearly half over, let’s hope for your sake and for Zoe’s that Milwaukee has seen the last of the big snowfalls for this winter season!
    Love, Mary

  4. This is such a cute story! I have seen such antics on TV with dogs and their boots. It’s hilarious to watch, but I know frustrating for you. At least Zoe cooperates with the Musher’s Secret. Love your humorous writing!

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