They run toward me with wide smiles and sparkling eyes
carrying four of those black bulky pieces of leather.
I back away, tail between my legs, with a small whimper.
I’ve seen Striker wear them —
Snoopy and Fido too.
We four used to run wild in the fields together,
chasing the uncatchable squirrels,
playing tug-of-war with our leashes
and keep away with our toys.
But ever since they put those shoes on their paws
they spend their days grooming their fur,
waiting patiently for their owners,
acting like they don’t smell the steak on the counter.
Is it my time to wear these shoes?
To stop chewing up my bed?
To walk with my head high on my leash?
To guard the house with a newfound ferocious bark?
I could finally have a bigger bowl
teach puppies the best places to bury bones,
shake new stranger’s hands,
and maybe even roam the house without supervision.
Can I carry this weight on my feet?
Where will these shoes take me?
But even if I can’t fill these shoes,
I know that my family will still tuck me into bed,
still take me for walks,
and still buy me ham treats for Christmas.
So I put on the shiny new shoes and take a few cautious steps,
away from yesterday’s chewed-up sandals.